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Waited on thr wrll-*nnwn chronicle 
of Kalhani and iu complements 
in Sanskut and Persian. The ori¬ 
ginal chronicle makes fascinating 
reading rven now, eight hundred 
years after it was composed in 
Sanskrit verse, because it is not 
merely a record of revolts, inva¬ 
sions and bat tles but also presents 
events, anecdotes and experiences 
of basic human interest. In the 
present work the author has 
made use of the latter stuff and 
placed before the reading public 
a fairly large number of tales. In 
the words of Mr G. M. Sadiq, 
Chief Minister, Jammu and 
Kashmir, in his Foreword “The 
pith and marrow of the chronicle 
thus becomes accessible to the 
reader in a form that is lucid, 
crisp and enjoyable, eschewing all 
that is controversial or transient.” 
Each talc has been selected for its 
own interest ns a passing scene in 
the vast drama of life and stands 
by itself irrespective of its impor¬ 
tance in its proper context in the 
chronicle. An event of deep hu¬ 
man significance and dramatic 
intensity has been seized and 
allowed to reveal its development 
through the sharp mind of the 

The tales have a refreshing varie¬ 
ty. Some of them have already 
passed into the imagination of the 
community in Kashmir in one 
form or another and are a part of 
the stream of consciousness there. 

Cover designed by 

Bushen Kaul 

*- xU /<C, £3- £- £9 

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Tales from the Rajatarangiui 

oadhu had his early education 
at the G. M. S. (Biscoe) School, 
Srinagar, which is well-known in 
upper India for its pioneering 
work in many fields. He took his 
degree from the Sri Pratap 
College, Srinagar, an institution 
founded in igob by the late Dr. 
Annie Besant. Later in 1938 he 
qualified for the degree of Master 
of Arts in English Literature at 
the University of Delhi, securing 
the first position on the merit list. 
After a spell of work as an active 
journalist Mr. Sadhu adopted tea¬ 
ching as his profession. He has 
been teaching English language 
and literature in his home state of 
Kashmir for the last twenty-five 
years. He was promoted to the 
Principals’ cadre in 1963. 

In 1962 Mr. Sadhu brought out 
his first book Folk Tales From 
Kashmir. 1 'he volume had a fair¬ 
ly good reception and some of the 
tales have since f:und their way 
into anthologies. The book was 
the recepient of an award from 
the J & K Academy of Art, Lan¬ 
guages and Culture in 1964. B/r- 
bal, a historical play written by 
him in Kashmiri was awarded a 
first prize in the drama competi¬ 
tion on t h e theme of “India’s 
Quest for Unity” sponsored by 
the Ministry of Scientific Research 
and Cultural Affairs, Government 
of India. Tales from the Rajata- 
rangini is in a sense a companion 
volume to his earlier book of folk 

lJ /4 *7t—— 



S. L. Sadhu 

With a Foreword by • 

Mr. G. M. Sadiq 

Chief Minister, Jammu A Kashmir 


Booksellers & Publishers, 

Lai Chowk, Srinagar, (Kashmir). 

<J5) S. L. SADMU 

By the same author 





and published by kapoor BROTHERS, 


Foreword iii 

Preface v 

Men settle in Kashmir i 

A King is turned into a Snake 5 

Bombur and Loire 7 

Chandralekha io 

A King enjoys killing Elephants IS 

A King fights Famine 18 

The Reanimated Skeleton 22 

A Champion of Non-Violence 27 

How Srinagar was Founded 31 

The Plebeian Son-in-Law 36 

The Merchant of Rohtak 39 

A Victim of Black Art 43 

Vinayadatta 48 

A Snare for a King 51 

The other City 54 

The Giants of Gauda 57 

The End of Lalitadi*ya 61 

Adventure and Romance 64 

A King breaks his Word 67 

Jayapida and Devasarma 70 

Jayapida persecutes Brahmins 77 

An Engineer is Discovered 81 

The Death of Shankarvarman 85 

The Brahmins elect a King 89 

A Daniel come to Judgement 93 

Didda’s Diplomacy 98 

A Family Feud 


Tales from the Rajatarangini 

The Prince who was a Piper 


I0 5 

The Defrauding Baniya 


A Soldier’s Stratagem 


Kota Rani meets her Love 

IJ 7 



Zain-ul-Abdin and Shri Buth 



x 3 i 



Yaqub Shah is Defeated 

M 3 

An Emperor grows Jealous 

1 49 

Ali Mardan’s Treasure 


A Communal Riot 

The Pathans annex Kashmir 

The Koh-i-Noor 

J 57 



The Afghans are Ousted 


T *7 A 

Appendix I (Notes) 

Appendix II (Rulers of Kashmir) 







It is a matter of pleasure for me to write this foreword to 
the Tales from the R ajatarangini. 

The Rajatarangim is a unique work amidst the literature of 
its kind. Originally composed in Sanskrit verse nearly eight 
hundred years ago, it chronicles the rise and fall of kings whose 
sway, with a few exceptions, did not go beyond the valley of 
Kashmir. Vet Kalhana's work fascinates readers far and wide. 
One of the reasons is that the work is not merely a record of 
revolts, invasions and battles which, at their best, make a sad 
commentary' on our sublunary civilisation, but also presents 
events, anecdotes and experiences of basic human interest 
which form the foundation of literature. The present author 
has seized upon the latter and thus placed before the reading 
public a fairly large number of tales which are usually missed 
by the student with an eye trained for historical facts, dynasties 
of kings, dates and the like. 

Kashmir has recently been the cause of a considerable out¬ 
put in books. Most of them take sides in a controversy. It 
is like discussing waves on the surface while the deep ocean 
remains unfathomed. The present work, I am glad to say, 
gives us a direct glimpse of the brooding depth and the comp¬ 
lex subconscious of the people here. 

Kalhana concluded his chronicle in 1149 A. D. But the 
present author has, for the purpose of this book, extended the 
Rajatarangini to the early nineteenth century to include works 
of the same name by Jonaraja, Srivara and Prajabhata, and 
Tivankht Kashmir in Persian by Pir Hassan Shah Khoihami. 
The decision is correct and extends the range of the tales chro¬ 
nologically as well as qualitatively. 

Tain from the Rajataratigim 

The Rajotorangwi it voluminous and not many have 
leisure or the facility to pore over it* page*. The pre** nt a.,, 
thor ha*, therefore, done well to spare the reader the rff, n 
needed to (to through vtise after verse in translation The 
pith and marrow of the chronicle thus becomes accessible to 
the reader in a form that is lucid, crisp and enjoyable, eschew¬ 
ing all that is controversial or transient The tales have a re¬ 
freshing variety, ranging from the paisacas and nagas to saints, 
warriors and kings, and roll together folklore and legend, his¬ 
torical facts and witchcraft, human ingenuity and supra-human 
intercession. Such is the stuff that goes into the making of 
Kalhana’s chronicle and the cultural mosaic of the people of 
the region reveals traces of these influences. 

I regard the Tales from the Rajatarangini not only as an im¬ 
portant addition to the literature on the subject but as a com¬ 
mendable work too. Judging from the welcome accorded to 
the author’s earlier book Folk Tales from Kashmir it would, I 
believe, be read widely and, may I say, profitably. I hope 
the book stimulates its readers to further literary endeavour in 
different fields of allied interest. 


G. M. Sadiq 

(Chief MinisterJ 


The Rajatarangini has been referred to as ‘the only history 
of its kind in India’ and the ‘last great work in Sanskrit litera¬ 
ture. It is a work that fascinates equally the antiquarian, 
the student of history and the explorer of literary beauty and 
poetic ornament. Sultan Zain-ul-abdin who ruled Kashmir 
in A. D. 1423 73 was so impressed by it that he not only got 

it translated into Persian but also created a department for the 
continuation of this chronicle in Sanskrit verse. This is a rare 
tribute in the history of our civilized progress and Kalhana is 
perhaps the only writer to claim it. In accordance with the 
Sultan’s commands Jonaraja, Srivara and Prajabhata recorded 
in succession the events from A. D. 1149—50 when Kalhana 
completed the 7826th verse of the Rajatarangini to the time 
when, after annexing Kashmir, Akbar, the great Moghul, came 
here on his imperial visit and ‘gladdened the hearts of Brah¬ 
min boys with gifts of gold.’ 

Kalhana’s chronicle is, however, voluminous and not every 
one who desires to read it has the leisure or the facility to 
accomplish the task. Those who undertake it are confronted 
with accounts of intrigues, treacheries, murders and battles 
that make no edifying reading. The dust and din raised by 
the march of troops and the clash of arms as recorded in the 
chronicle subsided long ago and the reader can withdraw his 
mind from this desplay of animality to feed on much else that 
is fortunately salted to last for ever. An attempt has been 
made in the following pages to present some of this stuff, keep¬ 
ing in view the interests of the average reader. 

The present work is based mainly on the Rajatarangini of 

Tale$ from the Rajatarangini 

Kalhana. alonguith its complements which bring the 3crr„„. 
down to 1587 A. D, and the Twarihhi Kashmir by Pir Has,, 
Shah published by the Research and Publications Department 
0 * 1C Jammu and Kashmir Government. The title at fir t 
proposed for the book was -Historical Tales from Kashmir" 
Whtch would perhaps not go ill with an earlier work of the 
wnter. Folk Tales from Kashmir (Asia). But that title appears 
slightly inappropriate; for, apart from the fact that Kalhana 
has recorded them, some of the anecdotes and events, especi- 

3 y those P ertainin g to earlier ages in which the borderline 
between the actual and the mythical has disappeared, do not 
tully satisfy the requirements of a sceptical age. Hence the 
title Tales from the Rajatarangini. 

Three or four chapters of this book deal chiefly with major 
political revolutions which have had far-reaching influence on 
the valley and India as a whole The replacement of the Hindu 
dynasty of rulers by the line of Sultans through a bloodless 
revolution is as phenomenal an occurrence as ever in history. 
The dynasty founded by Shahmir petered out and the sulta¬ 
nate of Kashmir succombed to the Mughal invasion in 1587. 
The Mughals themselves lost ground to the trans-Khyber Af¬ 
ghans who were in turn ousted by the Sikhs. In all these 
cases, as in others, the downfall of the ruling dynasty was 
heralded by misgovernment and completed by internal dissen¬ 
sions. Kashmir is a state on the most important strategic 
border of India and the lessons of these chapters should not be 
lost on any reader either within the state or outside. 

The present work is, however, not meant to be a contribu¬ 
tion to the study of history. Its interest is different. Be¬ 
sides being a chronicle of great celebrity the Rajatarangini is 
a composition in poetry. Kalhana regarded himself more as a 
poet than a historian, and his work as kavya, an exercise in 
poetic composition. Says he, “Worthy of praise is that power 
true poets, whatever it may be, which surpasses even the 
ream of nectar, in as much as by it their own bodies of glory 


P r *face 

" m ' e " ” ' hoW °[ obtain i mmotulj , v „ . 

« ... to *•' naturally wblimt C L W * 

w hose favour even mighty kings traTl ™ poeta without 

Without thee, O brother composer 'IL r ' membe " d . 

thee the universe is blind ” u Uu< . P r)€tr y—without 

through poetry and the tales hor - 8t ° Ty ® Urv,ves in our minds 

narrative of monarch. **" add *P'« to the 

The basic motives and urges for . 
always interesting, especially when iJLL aC ' ion »«* 
spreads beyond the individual and gL .se To • aC,i ° n 

i »«a -—J,”; "; d " ■ • “°»r* ™»... 

and lust, love, affection and faitk * a mbition, greed 

ness and humility, the ingenuity LTng "Tl' 
man, the devotion of a wife or the lo 1, , h * ° f 3 states - 
the instinct of an artist Kalhana h a V ° “ Servant With 

-i.K ,.1„ 2 “il ■J'“ d ?' »■» <* K. 

tution of kingship has virtually passed irZ^hy 0 ^ ** ^ 

bke those of the prudence of DurlabhavarLLthe ^ L’ 
of Mitrasarma for Jayapida or the flood control’ 1 * 

Suyya remain. Some of the tales, a, of Bombur andT, ° f 
Shn Bhat and Zain-ul-abdin, and Habba KU t L ° lre ’ 

passed into the imagination of the community a^dTr 

of the stream of our consciousness 3 part 

Projecting the customs and traditions in the vallev f 
days of Nagas and Paisacas, these tales enable the rel 7 , 

a glimpse of the rich tangle of life i n Kashmir Wit LL 
and prayer, cults of animal sacrifice and non-violence fiL 
min pansads, Damaras and Tantrins, use and abuse’of'th' 
weapon of hunger-strike, and plaints for justice in , 
baffling cases expose the skeins of our belief and culture Tach 
tale has, however, been selected for its own interest a.- a „ h 
mg scene in the vast drama of life and stands by itself iLL 8 " 
tive of its importance in it. proper context iTZ3£ 

n almost every tale an event of deep human significance and 

ramatic intensity has been seized and allowed to reveal its 


7‘*i|fs from th« Raj at*r nufini 




nt through the sharp mind of the poet-historian, 
thus the tales are not very far from imaginative 
and it is hoped that the reader finds them of more 

than passing interest. 

It is my pleasant duty to acknowledge my indebtedness to 
the translations of the R'ljatatangmi into English made seve* 
tally by ] C Dutt (1879—87). Auricl Stein (1900) and R- S. 
Pandit tigjM. Throughout these pages the three sources have 
been drawn upon for quotations and otherwise without reser¬ 
vation and acknowledgement. Tteorifehi Kashmir by Pir 
Hassan Shah is a reference book invaluable for all those interes¬ 
ted in Kashmir. It has helped in shaping several chapters 
of the present work and has to that extent been regarded as a 
complement of Kalhana’s magnum opus. 

It is a privilege to express my gratitude to Mr. G- M. 
Sadiq. Chief Minister. Jammu and Kashmir, who, even in the 
midst of a strenuous election, spaied valuable time to honour 
this book by contributing the ‘Foreword’ to it. Thanks are 
due to the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Languages 
and Culture for the contribution made towards the cost of 
printing this book. I have also to acknowledge my gratitude 
to Miss Enid Howe and Mr, David French who read these 
pages in typescript and suggested many improvements. 

March, 1967. 

S. L. Sadhu 

Mon Settle in Kashmir 

Ko.nG, long ago when the earth was overrun with aboriginal 
waters, \ ishnu adopted the form of a fish to draw a boat into 
which the goddess Sati had changed herself. The ship was 
moored to the top ot a mountain to the south-w*cst of the valley 
of Kashmir at a spot which came to be called Naubandhana. 
The boat turned into land, but a very large lake was left in the 
middle. A great demon, who was given the name of Jalodhbhava 
i.e. ‘water-bom’, grew up and lived in the lake. After great 
penance he earned the boon that he would never be vanquished 
as long as he remained in water. 

Meanwhile Nila, son of the sage Kashyapa, was appointed 
king of the nagas who had, through the favour of Vishnu, taken 
shelter here against the persecution of Garuda. He was much 
upset when Jalodhbhava devastated lands all around, even as 
far away as Gandhara and Jalandhara*. Nila and his father 
Kashyapa approached the gods who repaired to the hills 
surrounding the valley. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva spotted 
three lofty peaks near Naubandhana—which explains the names 
Vishnupad for the Konsarnag lake and Brahma Shukal peak. 
Not even the gods could match the prowess of the water-born 
demon. But they knew of the secret of his strength, viz., the 
boon, and they planned to sap it. With a mighty plough the bed 
of the lake was struck not far from Naubandhana, the water 
was drained out and the demon deprived of his power. He 
was overcome at the end of a futile struggle and exterminated. 
The gods were pleased to see the beautiful valley emerging 

*By Jalandhara is meant the Kangra district rather than the district of 
that name in the Punjab plains. 


Tnlrs from the RajataraAgini 

,fVr the water was drained and each selected for his haunt the 

t that he fancied. Goddesses took the form of rivers in the 


Kashvapa through whose intercession the land of Nila and 
h s nacas had been freed from the depredations of the ‘water- 
bom* addressed Vishnu thus: “This land is fit to be inhabited 
by human beings, and thus it will be lovely and blessed.” 
The rumens, however, refused to dwell together with human be- 
nes and consequently Kashvapa pronounced the curse, “You 
shall dwell with the paisacas (goblins).’’ He declared that 
every year in the month of Chaitra, the overlord of the goblins, 
Nikumbhu, went with a large host to fight the wicked goblins 
dwelling on an island in the midst of the Ocean of Sand far in 
the north. After fighting the goblins for six months he retur¬ 
ned on the fifteenth of the bright fortnight of Asvayuj to repair 
to the Himalayas for six months. Kashyapa decreed that the 
land was granted to Nikumbhu for his abode in winter and that 
men would dw r ell here in summer. 

Nila was upset at the prospect of having to dwell with gob- 
lins and witn great humility submitted that the nagas would 
dwell with men rather than with cruel goblins. At this stage 
Vishnu interceded and limited the curse of Kashyapa to only 
four aeons during which the goblins would live here for six 
months in winter The nagas in this land would dwell with 
human beings thereafter. He also pronounced that the land 

•According to this version based on the Nilamatapurana , Vishnu is 
said to have struck his ploughshare near the Niianaga, the present 
Vernag, to drain the water of the Satisar, and by a stroke of 
Shiva’s trident there Parvati assumed the form of the Vitasta or 
Jbelum. Another legend, however, maintains that the lake Satisar 
dra,ne<1 when the gods struck the bed of the gorge at Kha¬ 
li * ar, /i ^ )e * OW ® aramu ll a - Jalodbhava continued to offer resistance 
g° dess Durga appeared in the form of a bird and dro- 
f d Pebble on the errant demon. The pebble assumed the 
. ° 'r hll,oclc Hadpaivat in Srinagar and the demon was 
. i . b^pter XXII refers to a blockade of the gorge once 
t* in th* ninth century of the Christian era. 


Men Settle in Kashmir 

would become famou, as Kashmir after the name of the sage 

kjshyapa and that the people living here would perform rites 

and ceremonies advised by Nila for their own happiness and 

For four aecns thereafter men from surrounding lands came 
to Kashm.r in the m >nth of Chaitra. They tilled the land, rai¬ 
sed crops, gathered the harvest and departed to Darvabhisara * 
caving the valley to the flesh - eating goblins. Once an old 
ra min, Chandradeva by name, being weary of life, declined 
to accompany his fellow - countrymen on their trek out of th> 
valley. When Niitumbhu returned to the valley in Asvayuj, 
his goblins pounced upon the Brahmin and began to play with 
him mischievously, much to his distress. Extreme cold to which 
he was as yet unused almost benumbed him. However, he ma¬ 
naged to slip away from the stranglehold of the goblins and 
running for life he came to the abode of Nila, the lord of the 
nafras. It was at the very spot where the bed of the lake Sa- 
tisar had b»en struck by the gids with the plough and the 
water drained out. 

When he reached the spot he found the lord of the nngat 
being worshipped by the chief of the goblins, Nikumbhu, and 
hundreds of nafuj and naga maidens were in attendance upon 
him. Chandradeva, the fugitive Brahmin, thought it opportune 
time to open his case. He fell on his knees before the lord of 
the serpents and pronounced a hymn of praise preluded with a 
benediction. Nila felt pleased and addressing the Brahmin in 
suitable words he invited him to dwell in his (i.e. Nila’s ) 
abode. He also bade him choose any boon dear to his heart. 

Chandradeva was awa t ng just such an opportunity. He 
pertrayed the difficulties of the people of Kashmir in having to 
vacate their land in winter and ardently prayed that they be 
permitted to live in thevilley permmently. “Let it be so”, 

* Darvabhisara is identified as the hill tract just outside the valley 
of the Jhelum between this river and the Chenab. It includes pla¬ 
ces like Poonch and Rajauri. 


Tain from the najataran^mi 

replied Mila in an expanse moo I ; "O most exl | t ,j 

tht Brahmins. let your people abide here for ever faithTT* 
carrying out the ritea and observances necessary for tW 


The Brahmin took his abode with the lord of the serrv 
and passed the happiest six months of his life thus ti, P * 
pie began to return from the plains in the month of Chaitr 
A lew days later came their king, Viryodana. They never e 
peeled again to set their eyes on Chandradeva, for they thought 
he had fallen a prey to the goblins. Great was their astonish¬ 
ment and delight when he greeted them and made obeisance 
to the king. He related to them all that had happened, giving 
them a detailed account of the rites* to be observed so that 
they could live in the valley permanently. On hearim this the 
people r-joked. Th ;y built dwelling houses and ’ temples, 
villages and towns, andtookavav to celebrate festivals in 
honour of deities and other superhuman beings, dome of thes- 
festivals and rites continee to this day. The Chaitra festival 
was celebrated as late as the reign of Zain-ul-abdin (A. D. 
1420-70) and the king joined his subjects in the festivities. 

* the "*** P rescr 'hed Where that (i) the people should drink 

celeb,! k -a ‘ fa " 0f snow every year and (ii) they should 

fifteenth dav ° f the Buddhl - as Vishnu's tvatar, on the 

that hto/i 4 * iBh ‘ half of Baisakh - 11 recalled 

A. D m- f 01 a “‘‘ , ‘‘ T ‘‘ char>,a ' Kshemendra, of the 11 th century 
Of Vishnu" ^ Buddha as the ninth of the ten incarnations 


A King is Turned into a Snake 

TO visitors entering the valley of Kashmir by air the Srinagar 
airfield is a familiar sight. Being several hundred feet above 
the central valley of the Jhelum it is immune from floods. It 
is not an isolated spot dominating the surrounding areas but 
has been laid out on a tableland which overlooks the city of 
Srinagar as it exists today. Standing as a bastion to the city 
at a distance of about eight miles the offshoots of the table¬ 
land run into the far off foot hills 

Many hundreds of years ago Kashmir was ruled by a king 
called Damodara. He was a Shaivite though in his time the 
Buddhist faith also claimed many followers He was obviously 
a good king, for the historian says about him, “He loved a 

life of good conduct.One hears of his spiritual power 

even to this day as a marvel of the world.” In his days, no less 
than now, the valley suffered on account of severe rains leading 
to floods. But as he was keen about the welfare of his subjects, 
he built stone dykes and raised embankments so that the rivers 
would not overstep them to harm populated towns or fields 
smiling with corn. Some of these constructions were so big 
that in later ages people wondered how ordinary human beings 
could handle such huge boulders. They were inclined to be¬ 
lieve that a race of superior or semi-divine beings had been 
employed to accomplish the task. 

Damodara built a town not far from the present airfield and 
to the west of it. But the town did not have enough water for 
its needs and the king decided to divert the nearby river to¬ 
wards it. He, therefore, engaged a tribe of craftsmen to build 
a dam across the river so as to feed the town permanently. The 


Tales from thr Pajataran^ini 

Guhvaka craftom-n worke.l hard and raised an extensive dam 
on the river at a place called Gudda which it came to he known 
at first as (tudda-setu and later as Godasoth. 

This kin g , however, came to grief when he thwarted the 
wish of *< me Brahmins. One day he had to perform the 
sbadha ceremony. He was proceeding to the river to take his 
bath when he was met by some hungry Brahmins who request¬ 
ed him to give them some food. It was perhaps a late hour for 
anybody to take a bath, for in those days people generally 
finished their prayers by the time the day dawned. The king 
advised the Brahmins patience till he returned from the Vitasta 
after his bath. When the king paid no heed to their importu¬ 
nities, they thought of impressing him with their spiritual 
prowess so as to secure from him whit they desired. The 
Brahmans placed the river in front of him and saying, -‘Behold, 
here is the Vitasta/’ they renewed their appeal for food. 

The king was obstinate and refused to deviate from his 
original decision, treating the miracle as a mere delusion. The 
Brahmins were not to get their food before he took his bath. 
They were now past their patience. Their wrath wa^ raised 
and they pronounced a curse on the king. ‘‘May you become a 
sarpa (snake) !” they retorted when he said '*( sarpata ) Be off”. 

Everybody who heard these words of wrath was shocked. 
There was no intention to deny the Brahmins food. But the 
two parties were equally vain and did not abide by patience. 
Ultimately the Brahmins were given food and placated. They 
were then pleased to prescribe how the king might find salva¬ 
tion. “Your sin’*, the Brahmans declared, “will he atoned if 
you listen in one single day to the whole of the Ramayana ”, or 
till some charitable Brahman recited to him the whole Rama¬ 
yana on the night of the Shivaratri. 

Says the historian, “Even to this day people recognize him 
by the steam of his breath, which the curse has made hot, as 
he rushes about in search of water far and wide on the Damo- 


Bombur and Loire 

P.VFRY country has its tales of love and romance. Some of 
thrse centre round a legendary or quasi-historical hero or he¬ 
roine. The stories of Laila and Majnun, Shirin and Farhad, 
^ usuf and Zulaikha are very well known as composed in Per¬ 
sian verse or in translation In the Punjab the talc of Hir and 
Ranjha has been immortalised by Waris Shah. The story of a 
king of England in our own day renouncing his throne for the 
love of a lady, though unnoticed by the poet or romancer as 
yet, constitutes the stuff of which immortal tales of romance 
have been made. In Kashmir the love story of Loire and Bom¬ 
bur has left an indelible impress on the literature and culture 
of the Kashmiri speaking people. 

In the ancient past there lived in Kashmir a king whose 
name was Bombur. He is said to have be-n a good king and 
devoted himself to the welfare of his subjects. He was generous 
and spared neither effort nor expense for the comfort and well¬ 
being of his subjects. Indeed, he had won the throne because 
of these very virtues. His predecessor. Raja Prahlad, had 
fallen under the spell of an anchorite and having decided to 
renounce his throne passed the mantle of his sovereignty to his 
minister Bombur. Thus it was that the latter attained mastery 
of the kingdom of Kashmir. Once on the throne he bettered 
his reputation for being a virtuous man and loving master. He 
found his reward in the loyalty and affection of his subjects. 

One day he heard a call from the beyond and in a sense 
that proved to be his undoing. He caught a glimpse of the 
face of a lady known by the name of Loire and his heart was 
stung deep w ith her beauty. Married to his first cousin, she 


I alti /torn tht lf(ijaifirun//lnl 

wttswldiin the < in l<* of hi* relations 11 - was apparently help- 
I' '* nn<l couM not. find i of .»< lion for bin i ri fa tout ion . It i* 
|»iol>ul)lr tlint tin* |»t 1 1 1 1i( opinion at period was a p/tent 
vviMpon and even ruling < hit I* could riot, afford to take .in / step 
in violation of it. Bombur no hope of seeding the 1 ilfil- 
im ni til 1 1 io love willt a woman already married, the //ife of hrt 
Counin. (. .irrumslarw cs thun condemned him tn suffer the 
agony. Ilia love for hin beloved wan, however, t/>o deep to let 
him rent in peace and neither the weight of the crown on hi* nor zest lor the exercised power wan strong enough to 
beguile him out of hin predicament. 

I ime served only to add to the intensity of hia distraction. 
With the visage of Loire imprinted on his heart he unburden¬ 
ed hia love-laden aoul in m my a melancholy ode, bewailing 
the cruel indifference of the beloved, lie had neither trie in¬ 
clination nor the time to attend to the affaira of the »tate and 
others paid homage to that generous benefactress. Possessed 
with the thought of his beloved he roamed over hill and dale, 
calling to witness the intensity of his passion-stricken soul bird 
and beast, flower and bee, lake and tarn, the winged fairy and 
the twinkling star. None of them offered any consolation ; 
his passion merely grew by wh it it fed on, and awake or asleep 
he muttered only *Lolo\ *Lolo\ 

The intensity of his passion was, however, not entirely wast¬ 
ed. When it pervaded the vast firmament his wailful longing 
found entrance into the heart of the beloved and there it be¬ 
gan to thrive. Before long Loire herself was pining for the 
suitor who had renounced all his own for the love of her. It 
was too alarming a development to let her kith and kin look on 
in complacence. In order to escape a scandal they immured 
her. She was thus beyond doing any harm to her family who 
thought they would let the lunatic Bombur wail to the moon 
an 1 themselves breathe in peace. The news that his love had 
stung Loire reached Bombur in his self-imposed exile in the 
wilderness. Mis love was too unselfish, too other-worldly, too 


Bombur and Loire 

etheretl to provoke him to an act of retribution against those 
who had kept her in confinement. His heart had grown weary 
and thin and this last draught of bitterness plunged him into 
despair which over-whelmed him to the utter undoing of his 
mortal body. He succumbed under the load of his love-lorn 
soul. And Loire ? She made atonement for her indifference, 
her unconcern for her lover. She learnt intuitively of the 
approaching death of Bombur. The angel of death visited her 
at the same time as h? befriended Bombur and both of them 
died the same m ament. At last they were united Both the 
bodies were cremated on the same funeral pyre. 

Loire and Bombur pined away endeavouring to seek fulfil¬ 
ment of the^r love. But the tale of their devotion and sacrifice 
is undying. It has ever since kindled the imagination of the 
people generation after generation. The numerous odes be¬ 
tokening their love that have taken root in the hearts of the 
people are a glorious tribute to them. The burden of the odes 
o t Bombur, 'lolo’ ‘lolo’ has passed into the artistic imagina¬ 
tion of the community and is used as a complement by poets 
who have otherwise to wrack their brains. The observation 
that the reed pipe first grew at the place where Bombur and 
Loire were cremated is thus not off the mark. 



Pvpry year people from far and near feast their eyes on the 
scintillating surface of the Seshnag in the valley of the Liddar. 
This large freshwater mountain lake is unique in its magnifi¬ 
cence and beauty. How came it to be there beyond Mount 
Pisu ? AH the world over, geography has given its shape and 
form to history and is still giving it. In the land of Kashyapa 
where pods and titans, Nagas and Paisacas, contended for the 
privilege of settling down in the luscious valleys, geography 
has been hammered out and moulded by history. 

Many centuries ago the country was ruled by king Nara who 
was also called Kinnara. He founded a city Kinnarapura% the 
abode of the Kinnara* or Gandharvas, on the strand of the Vitas* 
ta not far from the present Bijbehara. The city was a ‘synonym 
for paradise’, for the shops here ‘were richly fed with high 
streets, the canals were gay with gondolas, and the gardens 
were colourful with fruits and flowers.’ 

Once a careworn Brahmin named Visakha came for rest to 
the edge of a limpid pool of water in the city. This pool was 
the abode of a naga named Susravas. After relaxing for some 
time in 1 he cool breeze under the shady trees the Brahmin felt 
rein-shed and prepared to eat a little of sattu that he carried 
with him. But before he had taken even a morsel his attention 
was attracted by the tinkling sound of anklets. 

He saw before him two exceedingly beautiful damsels dra¬ 
ped in blue shawls. They wore rubies in their ears and a thin 

* Though some scholars believ® that Narapura or Kinnarapura e»i- 
ted near the present eontonment in Srinagar, Stein assigns to it to® 

P am between the plateau of Tsakadar and Bijbehara town. 



line of collvrium marked their elongated eyes. These moon¬ 
faced lotus-eyed maidens further amazed the Brahmin when he 
discovered them eating pods of karchaguccha grass. Over¬ 
coming his earlier bashfulness he invited them to share his ry 
food and he learnt that they were the daughters of Susravas, 
the naga. The elder was Iravati and the younger, the more 
beautiful of the two. was named Chandralekha, the Lady of the 
Crescent Moon. When he asked them why they ate grass be¬ 
fitting the humble they told him that their father would appear 
at Taksakanag* (Zevan) on the twelfth day of the dark half of 
Jeth and would explain everything. Soon after they disappea¬ 

On the said date the Brahmin found the naga, with his hair 
tuft dripping with water, and his two daughters at the festival 
of Taksakanag. After the usual greetings the two were soon 
busily engaged in conversation. In the course of his talk the 
naga explained to the Brahmin how he had fallen on evil 

The naga pointed to a tree nearby under which an ascetic 
with a clean shaven head was practising austerities. This very 
ascetic was the keeper of the crops and owing to a spell which 
had been imposed the nagas could not eat the new grain till the 
keeper had eaten of it. “This fellow”, said the naga referring 
to the ascetic, “does not touch it and because of that regulation 
we are perishing,” and sought the help of the Brahmin to en¬ 
joy the bumper crop smiling before his eyes. “Please act so 
that he may fall from his vow,” the naga pleaded. 

Visakha, the Brahman, was anxious to help the naga. Day 
and night he thought of how to induce the ascetic to taste the 
new grain. Unable to find an easy solution, he resorted to a 

• This pool of water exists even now at Zevan. In Akbar’s time 
cultivators offered worship there and poured milk into it to enlist the 
aid of the deity for a good crop. Cultivation of saffron, accor¬ 
ding to Abul Fazal, was believed to have originated from it. 
Pampur, the home of saffron, is not far from the place. 


7 from rhr Rti/dUirangini 

tfick not expected of a Brahmin When the ascetic had left 
for the fields the Brahmin secretly put a few grains into th' 
vessel while hi* food was being cooked. When he ate it on hi 
return the spell was broken and the rniga* were free to eat the’ 
fill. The lord of the naga* poured torrents of rain and the 
glorious harvest was washed away Susravas invited Visakh 
to his own abode and entertained him lavishly out of gratitude 
Besides granting him wealth he also honoured him with the gift 
of the peerless maiden Chandralekha, for whose hand he had 
submitted his prayer. 

The Brahmin was exceedingly happy on having attained 
his ambition. Chandralekha proved to be unexemplified on 
account of her noble character, good behaviour and extreme 
dutifulness towards her husband whom she treated as the deity, 
as enjoined in the sacred books. No task at her home, how¬ 
ever humble, was unworthy of being attended to by the 
daughter of the lord of the nagas 

One day, from the balcony of her house she noticed a stray 
horse attempting to nibble at the corn left to dry in the court¬ 
yard. Finding no servant within hearing distance she ran do*n 
the stairs to drive the horse away and smacked him. The horse 
moved away but on his body was left a golden imprint of the 
palm of the lady. The horse was much sought after owing to 
the distinction that had been conferred upon him. 

As said above, the country was ruled by Nara who, through 
the reversal of the good fortune of the subjects, became the 
g n of a series of great misfortunes owing to the vice of sen* 
suality . He had heard of the beauty of the Brahmin lady and 
d eve oped a hankering for her. The imprint of her tapering 
* ! °° \ 6 k° rse burst the smouldering fire into the flame 
j nation and he took leave of all righteousness and duty, 

tTl l d, T ti0n - He tried *> her through emise- 
h»ve the lady Vlnt! ^ beg8ed ° f * he Brahmin t0 let him 

The poor Brahmin, however, 

would not oblige the king. 



in a fit of rage, therefore, Nara ordered his soldiers to bring 
her to him by force and they raided the house of the Brahmin. 
Nothing daunted, Visakha, the Brahmin, escaped by a hidden 
passage and sought refuge alongwith his wife in the abode of 
his father-in-law, the naga Susravas. 

On hearing of the wicked deeds of the king the naga was 
blind with rage. He emerged from the pool bent upon aveng¬ 
ing the wrongs of Chandralekha. The city of the king was 
accordingly enveloped in blinding darkness ; clouds gnashed 
their teeth in deafening thunder \ and the city along with the 
king was subjected to a terrific shower of boulders. The 
sister of Susravas, Nagi Ramanya likewise emerged from a cave 
of the Ramanya hills to assist her brother. Having learnt that 
Susravas had completed his task she showered boulders on the 
villages around so that large areas of land were laid waste*. 

King Nara thus made his exit from the stage of life along 
with many of his friends, courtiers and subjects who, fearing 
his displeasure, had failed to bring him back to the path of 
duty, justice and righteousness. On second thought even the 
naga was filled with remorse because he had been provoked to 
commit a hideous slaughter of humanity. He could not stand 
the denunciation of the people and bade good-bye to the loca¬ 
lity. He made his way to the distant mountains wheie he 
decided to spend his days in the wilderness, of snow-covered 
peaks, reckless streams and barren crags. He constructed a 
new abode for himself beyond Chandanwari on the pilgrim 
route to Shri Amarnath. In this wise it was that the magni¬ 
ficent lake of Susramnagt (father-in-law’s lake) which delights 
the hearts of thousands of pilgrims every year came to occupy 
its present position. The Brahmin, now an inmate of the 

• “In the stony waste above village Litar I recognise the place 
where the Ramanya (the Rambhiara river) is supposed to have 

dropped her stones*’ (A. Stein). Litar is about eight miles from 

t It came to te known later as Sheshramnag and now as Sheshnag. 


Tale* from the Rajatarangini 

household, attained the status of a n aga and took his abode 

tha^th^ "w amatUrn8g * the lake of the son-in-law, Thus it is 
that the golden'mpr'ut °f Chandralekha’s palm set the She,h- 

tion. towering mountains far away from habita- 



A King Enjoys Killing Elephants 

During the fourth century A. D. India was invaded by a 
foreign race called the White Huns. These west-Asian horse¬ 
men had earlier invaded Europe but were finally defeated in 
451 A. I). In India also they wore not allowed to rule for long 
and were finally over-thrown in 545 A. D. One of the last 
rulers was Miharkula* who, defeated by Yasovarman about 530 
A. I). had thus to flee India. While on his flight he changed 
his mind and persuaded the king of Kashmir to grant him assy- 
lum. But he soon repaid the debt of gratitude when he dis¬ 
posed of the ruler and usurped the throne. “His approach be¬ 
came known,” says Kalhana, “by the sight of vultures, crows 
and the like, eager to feed on those being massacred by his 
encircling army.” 

In those far off times Kashmir was remote from the plains 
of India and there was, of course, no system of highways in 
the modern sense. Even as late as the reign of Aurungzeb it 
took the king several months to undertake a sojourn to Kashmir 
and he reached the valley in the month of May/June when he 
had left Delhi in December of the previous year. 

Twelve hundred years earlier Mihirkula wormed his way 
into Kashmir through these mountain paths. His baggage 
train included elephants. While ascending the Pir Panchal the 
foot of an elephant slipped and the tusker went hurtling down 
the mountain. Life is dear to the beast no less than to man 
and the unfortunate elephant trumpeted distressfully appealing, 

• Thcic is considerable disparity in the chronology of Kalhana 
but the historians have no doubt as to the identity of the Whit© 


Tales from the Rajatarangini 

perhaps, to the king for help. Rut “Mihirkula of violent 
deeds” enjoyed the fatal moaning in the spirit of the superna¬ 
tural beings inimical to mankind. So much did his ears feel 
tickled by the sound that he caused another elephant to be 
hurtled down in order to cater to his enjoyment. He became 
intoxicated with it, his appetite for ‘monstrous music’ grew; and 
a hundred elephants found their death that day in the gorge 
of the Pir panchal to satiate the perveisity of the king t Truly 
could it be said of the incident reminiscent of Nero: 

As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. 

T hey kill us for their sport. 

The spot where the elephant slipped has acquired the name 
of Hastivanj. With all that Mihirkula founded a shrine in 
Srinagar, built a town, gave grants to Brahmins and re-estab¬ 
lished pi :>us observances. 

This king once decided to divert the river Chandrakulya.* 
The labourers confronted a rock in midstream and could not 
remove it even with all their combined might. The presence 
of the rock caused an obstruction and the king’s plan was thus 
being wrecked. But the latter was dead set on accomplishing 
his desire though he found no way out immediately. 

At night he had a dream and the gods spoke to him about 
the problem which was hanging heavy on his heart. It was not 
a mere rock, they told him, that thwarted his efforts ; his men 
were striking against the citadel of a mighty yaksa. They were 
bound to fail, for not even an army of labourers could dislodge 
the yaksa as he was an ascetic wedded to celebacy and was 
bound to repel any effc rts to overthrow him by physical might 
But, continued the cetestial beings, the yaksa was vulnerable 
to chastity and were a chaste woman to touch the rock, he 
would not have the power to obstruct. 

* I am unable to identify the Chandrakulya of the above story*’ 

—A Stein 

Seme people identify Chandrakulya with the present Tsuntikul. 
tSee Appendix. 


A King Enjoys Killing Elephants 

The king was delighted, for he had been provided 
with a double-edged weapon. He could now have the rock 
removed and, what was perhaps more amusing to him, prick 
the bubble of the much-vaunted chastity of the nobility and 
the elite. 

1 he next morning he revealed his dream to his courtiers 
am! commanded that a chaste woman be asked to touch the 
tock. It was the privilege of the ladies of the palace and of 
high families to approach the rock in the order of priority and 
each ot them returned with a stain on her fair name when the 
rock stood still The reputation of so many ladies became 
suspect that people came to regard the dream as another whim 
of the king to harass his subjects. 

When the ladies of the noble stock had failed to move the 
rock, the turn to try her luck fell to the lot of a poor woman. 
Chandrawati was the wife of a potter. Those others who had 
endeavoured in vain sneered at her when she approached the 
rock: “This woman who can be tempted by a tinsel toy to 
foreswear her gods!’* But the potter’s wife trod with confi¬ 
dence and touched the rock. Lo ! the wonder of wonders! the 
rock did move eventually at her touch. 

The king was full of wrath and had all those women of 
high families slaughtered who had failed to move the rock. 
Truly has Kalhana compared him to the God of Destruction. 



A King Fights Famine 

THE king was in despair. He had been fighting the famine 
with main and might and yet the elements showed no sign of 
relenting. Distress and suffering were writ large on the faces 
of his subjects with their sunken cheeks and faded eyes. The 
king had thrown open his treasury and gave away freely to the 
needy to enable them to feed and clothe themselves. These 
treasures sustained the people for a short while. No treasures, 
however, can last long when the drain on them is continuous, 
and the ray of hope on the face of the king faded away as people 
cried with hunger. The elements wore a menacing look, the 
same as they had worn for so many weeks, which served to 
intensify the feeling of desperation among the people. 

The king took counsel with his courtiers. “Beset with this 
severe famine," he addressed them, “we must do everything to 
save our beloved subjects from the demon of hunger, for the 
majesty ot the king and the gentility of the nobles rests on the 
well-being of the subjects. Deprived of that support, the 
nobles turn into commoners and the king loses his right to 
rule. I have already exhausted the treasury and my personal 
treasures. In this hour of need I shall not stint giving away 
the jewels of the queen too. But I am afraid that single hand* 
ed I shall not be able to cope with this gigantic task*.* • 

Tunjina, for that was the name of the king, had not con 
eluded when his courtiers begged him to admit them into the 
brotherhood of the donors. They were nobles by blood aD 
were entitled to that name by their deeds as well* Inspire 
by the example set by their liege lord they placed *11 
resources at his disposal. Their sacrifice infected the more 


A King Fights Famine 

well-to-do subject* and it gave Tunjina some relief to find 
•core* of people sharing hi* anxiety truly and honestly. But 
even thi* wa* shortlived. The frown of the elements was not 

It had all been to unexpected. Tunjina wa* acclaimed to 
bf' a good king and his subjects were proud of him Under 
his rule people had enough to eat and were well looked after. 
On this occasion, however, it was quite otherwise. The fields 
were full of the paddy crop and the ears were green on the 
stalks. Early in Bhadun, however, the sky was overcast with 
clouds which descended on the earth in the form of snow, 
beautifully white but cold and deadly in its effect. The snow¬ 
fall was heavy, severe and prolonged. Not even the aged had 
ever seen snow in this month, and never in such bulk. The 
whole country was filled with horror, for the appearance of 
snow in thick layers conveyed the dismal tidings that they 
would not be able to retrieve a single grain of rice. 

What were smiling fields of paddy, emerald and golden, 
turned into boundless wastes of snow haunted by evil spirits 
and will-o’-the-wisp. The whole valley was embedded in snow, 
the plains, the forests and the mountain passes, and all contact 
with the outside world was lost. Trees which were full of 
leaves, and luscious ripening fruit came to suffer too on 
account of this inclement weather. Leafy branches could not 
sustain the weight of the snow and they crashed burying the 
fruit. What were roads turned into pools of slush. Destruc¬ 
tion and distress prevailed everywhere and the gods continued 
to smile sinisterly behind the clouds which were glued to the 
•ky. In four or five days people lost all hope. Despair stared 
them in the face and the demon of starvation stalked out of its 
haunt. It struck equally the insect on the leaf, the bird in the 
nest, the quadruped in his lair and the man in the house. 
"Famine” I “Famine” I rose the cry from every direction, an 
all-out famine for every living creature. Men felt pained at 
the distressful hunger of their pets or birds of the air no less 


Tala from the Rajaiaranfini 

than at their own. 

1 hit wai how the fam ne was uahtred in and, like an army 
of occupation, it entrenched itself. The king, the cornier, 
the noble, and th* common people .trained every nerve to 
escape it. onslaught but all their efforts were unavailing The 
mountain* being snow-blocked, no relief could be ex¬ 
pected from outside. I he same barrier prevented the suffering 
populace from trickling out to the plains. The whole popula¬ 
tion was left to its fate. In the words of the historian ‘The 
love of wife, affection for the son, loving kindness for the 
parent were forgotten by everyone. People forgot modesty, 
pride and high birth. The father abandoned his emaciated 
son begging for food when his own life was at the throat, or 
the son his father and provided nourishment for himself.” 
Birds and animals having disappeared, bargaining in human 
*fiesh was resorted to. 

When nothing could break the malicious spell of the ele¬ 
ments even the king lost all hope. Relieving his grief-laden 
heart before his consort he attributed the dreadful visitation 
to his sins of the past. “Fie on me, hapless one, in front of 
whom the sorrow-stricken people who deserve to be helped are 

perishing.Having exhausted my means I shall now sacrifice 

my body in the blazing fire, for I am not able to see such a 
destruction of my subjects”. Thereupon the king’s self-rest¬ 
raint broke and he began to sob. 

The queen could not stand his proposal to commit suicide. 
Being made of sterner stuff she replied, “What is this perver¬ 
sion of your judgment that you wantonly intend what befits 
an irresolute man ?” Questioning his title to greatness she 
admonished, “Devotion to the husband is the rule of dutiful 
conduct of women, loyalty that of ministers, and single-min¬ 
ded application in protecting the subjects is the sacred duty of 
kings.’ She assured him that his subjects would not suffer any 

♦Sec Appendix 


A King Fights Famine 

more and added, “Has my utterance ever been reversed ?.” 

Having persuaded her lord to desist from committing sui¬ 
cide* and to continue his endeavours the lady went into medita* 
tion anti lo 1 in the morning food in the form of lifeless pigeons 
tell in each house The people rejoiced on receiving food from 
da hidden source ; for it meant that their travail was over, 
v as so, indeed, because they got their food every day without 
tail till the sky became spotless, the snow disappeared and the 
famine came to an end. The virtuous queen founded two asy¬ 
lums at Kaimuh and Ramuh where the needy were fed. She 
died on the funeral pyre of her husband after thirty six years. 

The agony and distress experienced by Tunjina has given a word 
to the Kashmiri language. When a person feels hard-pressed on 
any account and yet is helpless in spite of his utmost endeavours 
is state is expressed in the words tundljan Mu h S mut. Tuudijuu 
is obviously derived from Tupjina. 

21 Mean i mated .Skeleton 

TUNJINA who fought the famine so valiantly waa succeeded 
by Vtjaya whose name will live beyond the ahadow of forget* 
fulnrM bee mac In* built the town round the ahrine of Vijayes- 
vara. 1 hiring the reign of hin son and aucceaaor, Jayendra, 
there lived a wiae and pioua miniater named Samdhiman Me 
adored hia maater even aa a pioua and devoted wife adorea her 
huaband. The king also repoaed full confidence in the minia 
ter and did nothing without aeeking hi» advice. Thia fact made 
many people jealoua of the king's trusted minister and they 
•ought constantly to bring him to disgrace. 

“Put not they trust in kings” is an ancient saying and no¬ 
body can count upon their unswerving friendship. Samdhi* 
man found it true to his cost when he was dismissed by the 
king, for the enemies of the minister had succeeded in poison¬ 
ing his ears. The former counsellor of the king did not, how¬ 
ever, take it amiss, his ambition being far different from that 
of ministers of the common run. He enjoyed his life in retire¬ 
ment even though the king deprived him of all his possessions 
and reduced him to penury 

Thia waa only the beginning of the troubles of Samdhiman 
who, freed from the worries of the state, devoted himself to 
the service of Shiva. There was a persistent rumour that after 
the death of the king the realm would pass into the hands of 
Samdhiman. Thia gave a handle to the enemies of the dismis¬ 
sed minister who argued that a rumour does not spread unless 
it is started. The king was easily convinced by thia argument 
which he who had no son regarded as the thin end of the 
wedge employed by the subtle minister to bring about hit 


The Reanimated Skeleton 

downfall. To prevent the diaafFection likely to be caused thus 

bv him, Samdhiman was put into prison and his feet suffered 

the agony of heavy fetters in accordance with the practice of 
those days. 

In spite of this Jayendra, the king, did not feel at peace 
with the world. The thought that Samdhiman may ultima'ely 
succeed him on the throne was gnawing him and the only effec¬ 
tive way to prevent it was to do away with the former minister 

w ;le he was still alive. He issued orders that the ex-minister 
he put to death and Samdhiman was accordingly impaled. His 
1> ichich lay transfixed thus for many days, was feasted up¬ 
on bv the birds of the air and the beasts of the wilds till the 
skeleton was picked clean of all trace of flesh. 

Samdhiman had one friend who had not forsaken him in 
his misfortune and that was Ishana, his spiritual guru or pre¬ 
ceptor. Ishana was grieved to learn of the outcome of the last 
frenzy of the king and visited the place where Samdhiman 
died His heart melted with pity when he found the wolves 
pulling the skeleton away from the stake. He drove them off 
pulled out the nail and lifted the skeleton to perform the last 
rites due to the deceased He tried to decipher the writing on 

the forehead: ‘'Poverty so long as there is life, ten years’im¬ 
prisonment, death on the top of the stake, then there will be 
sovereignty.” The person whose skeleton was lying before him 
had already verified the truth of the first three stages. He 
wondered if the fourth was also going to be realised. It was 
obviously a bewildering thought, for who could endow the 
skeleton with flesh, blood and life ? A little reflection satisfied 
him hat there was nothing beyond the pale of possibility. He 
ecalled thatSatyavan had been brought back to life by the 

beensU 8 deV ° ted ^ Savi,ri > that Arjuna who had 

,, , m m the clt V of Mampura was restored to life through 

the favour of his Naga wife and that the god of deariThS 

eageme many L “ ° cca81on - He was, therefore, filled with 

eagerness to see the fulfilment of the prophecy and took up his 


tales from the Rajatarangini 

abode at the very spot where he could keep close watch over 
the skeleton. 

Not long after his nose was tickled by such an extra-ordi¬ 
nary perlume at night that he was keyed upto expect some¬ 
thing marvellous. Soon he heard the sound of minstrelsy, the 
beating ol cymbals, the blowing of conches and the vibration 
ol unearthly chords. I his was followed by a wonderful sight : 
Yoginis (nymphs) standing in a halo of light. The yoginis 
appeared to be in a state of excitement. “This really promises 
something extra-ordinary” he thought and, with a drawn-* 
sword in his hand to ward off any evil effect on himself, he 
watched the yoeinis from behind a tree. 

With the rising tide of desire for dalliance with a lover, the 
yoginis , drunk with liquor, had failed to find a virile man. 
They then spotted the skeleton and carried it away. Having 
been stretched in the centre of the troupe the skeleton was be¬ 
ing modelled with all the limbs. In a short while the man was 
set up complete in all respects. The body was made instinct 
with life when the yoginis with their unearthly power filled it 
with the spirit of the deceased minister which had not found a 
new mansion yet and was still wandering. They massaged the 
body with elysian emollients till he awoke as if from sleep. 

The night had worn itself out by the time the nymphs had 
their fill of amorous play and in a matter of moments they were 
expected to take themselves away from the sight of the mortals. 
Ishana was overwhelmed with the fear that on their departure 
the yoginis might despoil him of the limbs bestowed upon him 
in a moment of passion. In an endeavour to prevent their do¬ 
ing so he proceeded resolutely towards them with a drawn 
sword and raised a shout. The yoginis vanished instantly from 
view and a voice assured Ishana that they meant no deceit to¬ 
wards the revived skeleton who would not lose any of his limbs. 
They also re-echoed the prophecy of the renown which was 
awaiting this man with the divine body. 

*A drawn sword is supposed to ward off evil influence. 


The Reanimated Skeleton 

Samdhiman was clad in celestial garment., with garlands 

round his neck and adorned wbh ornaments be ltting is 
nitv Having regained his memory of the past epros a 
himself before his preceptor Ishana who raised im up an 
held him in a fond embrace. The two spent some ayb to 
get her, away from the din of the city pondering over t e my 
stories of life and death and of the unknown. Meanwhile, the 
news of the restoration to life of the former minister reac le 
the city and the residents of Srinagar, young and old, came 
out to meet him by the hundred. Though the resemblance to 
his earthly form in which they knew him was not perfect, the 

doubts of the people as to his identity were put to rest when 

they talked to him and were spoken to. 

The king of Kashmir, Jayendra, having died without an 
heir, the throne had no occupant for sometime. The courtiers, 
the nobles and the people, therefore, approached Samdhiman to 
accept their allegiance and to rule over them. He did so very 
reluctantly, having been persuaded by his guru Ishana to 
accept their entreaties. Anointed king in a garden by Brah¬ 
mins, Samdhiman entered the city escorted by the army. From 
terraces and balconies the citizens of Srinagar welcomed him 
with showers of parched grain and flowers, and the sky 
was filled with blessings and shouts of joy. 

Samdhiman ruled for many years and during his rule the 
land was spared calamities, natural or those engineered by 
mortals. The king spent considerable time in meditation and 
was a frequent pilgrim to places consecrated to gods and saints 
His devotion to the life hereafter grew steadily and began to 
claim his attention even to the exclusion of the affairs of state. 
Disaffection began to stir the hearts of some of his subjects. 
Realising this, Samdhiman decided to abdicate the throne and 
take to the hills and forest caves in search of Shiva whose 
devotee he was. “By giving up in my own time fortune, like 
a courtesan who has ceased to love”, he thought, “the shame 
of a forcible expulsion has luckily been avoided by me.. Like an 


l\i]es from the Rujrtttiranfliti* 

actor while I played my part proudly for a 'ong time 

stage of the realm onto the very _ denouement the spectators, 

fortunately, did not lose interest. 

The following day he convened a meeting of all his su ji 

the government to them even as he had been mvest.d with 

power. Himself he went in the direction of forests and snow- 

covered hills where he was delighted to hear free of any a 

ty, the flutes of shepherds and the mustc of nil* Heread 

the sacred spring of Sodara near the present Narannag 
tile Sdcicu b i rr>reivecl bv ascetics and 

Nandikshetia where he was warmly rece y 

saints who attained ecstasy in the worship of 



A Champion oi Non-Violence 

IUN Samdhiman abdicated the throne and betook himself 
,0 hermitages of Nandikshctra in the lap of Haramukh 
mountain, the people of Kashmir invited to rule over them a 
\ tnue whose ancestor Yudhistra had been forced to flee the 
valley. Kashmir maintained close contacts all through the 
centuries with her neighbours including the foreign countries 
of Tibet, Sinkiang and Afghanistan. Seeing that there was no 
strong ruler on the throne there, the mouth of the king of 
Gandhara watered for the conquest of the lovely territory of 
Kashmir and he extended patronage to Gopaditya, great- 
grandson of Yudhistra, with a view to use him in gaining his 
territorial ambitions. The dreams of the king of Gandhara and 
Gopaditya, however, failed to materialise. Gopaditya’s son 
Meghavahana was a gifted youth and was believed to have the 
infallible marks of divinity. The ministers of the kingdom of 
Kashmir invited him to the land of his forefathers once again. 

Gandhara was for a very long time a radiating centre of art 
and culture and Buddhism thrived in the Kabul valley for a 
thousand years. Meghavahana had come strongly under the 
influence of Buddhist beliefs, partly because of the Gandhara 
environment and partly of his wife who belonged to Buddhist 
ancestry. He turned out to be a devotee of non-violence. Asoka 
is renowned as an apostle who renounced war and abjured the 
use of violence as an instrument of state. Meghavahana had the 
practice of violence stopped throughout the country from the 
very day of his accession. 

Speaking generally, the people of Kashmir did not abstain 
from taking meat even in pre-Muslim times. Animal sacrifice 


Ult, from tlx RajaUtrangM 

, „ ,,„|, r among sections of Hindus who offer 

h* f-r lone b«r. P"l ' petformanct «f appropiUle fit**. 

— * *rjZZL~***" 

- “"isr «»* ? 

Wa ; 3 LimTd throughout the country he provided the 
orders proc ^ empIoyment . The problem of permrtt- 

^tcnfkes to deities was also got over: the king decree ^ 

8 u pn ff e red of the effigies of animals made of butter 

and offerings of paste be made to sptnts. He and 
built vihnras and stupas. 

Having effectively stopped violence and slaughter o 
animals in his own domain the ambitious mg set ou o 
win over other rulers and induce them to desist from violence 
,o living beings. Apparently, he had no difficulty in initiating 
the overpowered rulers into the principle of non-violence. 
Once he camped on the shore of the ‘lord of the rivers and 
felt perturbed about how to cross the waters to win over to the 
doctrine of non-violence the people who lived beyond, especial¬ 
ly the inhabitants of the land of the giants who were devourers 
of flesh. While he was thus encamped he heard a cry of dis 
tress: “Under the very sway of Meghavahana I am being 
slain”. On inquiry he found that a Bhil was about to s.ay a 
man in front of the temple of Chandika. The king remons¬ 
trated with the Bhil about this foul deed but the latter retorted 
that he was offering this sacrifice in accordance with prescribed 
rites to save from inevitable death his infant son on whose well¬ 
being depended the lives of many others. The king, eager to 
save the life of the waif who had been captured from the forest 
by the Bhil, offered his own life as a sacrifice to the goddess. 
The Bhil doubted the wisdom of the step taken by the king and 
advised him to let him propitiate Chandika in the manner he 
originally proposed. Thereupon Meghavahana started unshea¬ 
thing his sword to slay himself to save the life of the waif 

His hand was, however, held by a celestial figure and he 
was prevented from self-immolation. The temple of Chandika, 


A Champion of Non-Vialen4€ 

the Bh.l and his victim had in the meantime disappeared. The 
king was, on the other hand, received by Vanina, the ocean- 
god who enabled him to cross the water, and reach the island 
ot the -devourers of flesh.’ The giants on that island accor¬ 
ded great honour to him and were converted to his doctrine of 
non-violence. They made presents to the king which, on his 
ntum to Kashmir, were exhibited to the people and taken 
in a procession every year. 

The faith of this campaigner for non-slaughter was put to 
ano her severe trial in his own land- One day he was approa¬ 
ched by a Brahmin who prayed for permission to offer animal 
sacrifice to save the life of his only son who was sji.enng from 
some fell disease The Brahmin had brought his sick son to 
the gates of the palace. Meghavahana reminded the Brahmin 
of his proclamations which were the outcome of his firm beiief 
and deep faith. The Brahmin was by tradition a devotee of 
the cult of animal sacrifice to the deities and the life of his son 
was dearer to him than the faith of the king. He, therefore, 
started questioning the fundamentals of the soveregin s creed. 
“If because of your insistence on non-violence the boy dies, 
who else is the cause of his death but the king May you be 
pleased to give the decision as to the difference between the 
life of an animal which you want to save and that of at Brahmin 
which is going to be lost ?” The suppliant heaved a sigh for 
those kings who would kill others to save the life of a Brahmin. 
Meghavahana was placed in a fix. He did not want to go 
against the ordinance proclaimed by him which was vital to his 
faith, nor did he want the Brahmin to suffer death as it would 
be a case of extreme sinfulness He felt bow ildered in this 
state of indecisiveness. “Spinning in doubt,** he thought “my 
mind is unable to adhere to either side. To save the lito of 
the Brahmin boy and yet to be true to his pledge he decided to 
offer his own body as sacrifice to propitiate Durga. He gave 
the promise to the Brahmin, “Tomorrow I propose to act :n 
your favour*’ and made up his mind to follow his decision ac¬ 


Tales from the Rajatarangini 

During the night the goddess Durga appeared to Meghava* 
hana and prevented him from self-immolation. The same 
night the Brahmin boy was also restored to health. The king’s 
pledge to prevent animal sacrifice in his domain was thus up¬ 


How Srinagar was Founded 


SRINAGAR shares with very few cities the distinction of being 
one of the oldest capitals. It was originally founded by Asoka 
more than two thousand years ago. The site of Asoka’s city 
was on the outskirts of the present city, about one mile to the 
south of the hill of Shankaracharya. The present city was founded 
hv Pravarasena II around the hill of Sharika or Hariparbat. How 
it happened is told by the historian. 

Piavarasena ascended the throne after the abdication of 
Matrgupta, protege of Vikramaditya. After having attended to 
the aifairs of the state for about ten years he felt that he could 
consider how to give material shape to his ambitions. The 
greatest of these was to build a city that would defeat time 
and immoitalise his name. The existing city was subject to 
lloods frequently. He surveyed several sites but none of these 
came upto his expectations. 

The anxiety to find the right spot and to lay the founda¬ 
tion of the city at an auspicious moment did not let him rest. 
His mind was occupied with the thought during the day and 
at night his sleep was disturbed by dreams about the city he 
had set his heart upon. In one of his dreams he got a clue that 
the city he was looking for was to the north and that he would 
learn about it only at night. One dark night he left his palace 
and strolled further down along the bank of the Jhelum. 

He reached a place which was a crematorium and the king 
saw the area lit up with funeral fires. The place was 
probably the island of Maisuma and the flames from the pyres 
near the present Kavji Mohalla projected the shadows of the 
trees in different directions. The king’s attention was drawn 



Till** {tom fHf Rangini 

to a mighty form aero** the riter. It wa* obviously a ghnt 
extraordinary even for tho*c hoary day*. His eye* were hide-.u* 
flame* and hi* tongue wa* a brand ot fire directed towards the 
king. In Rtaiure he rivalled the loftiest trees and his girth was 
commensurate with it. All in all, the giant wa* an embodi¬ 
ment of terror niignified beyond human conjecture. 

The giant extended his arm* and with a guffaw unimagin¬ 
ably dreadful hj tried to draw the puny human towards h,m- 
s?lf. Even with all that he failed to disturb the equanimity 
of the king. In fact the exercise of all his powers tostnxe 
terror into the heart of the king provoked laughter from the 
latter. The giant was happy to note the lofty courage of the 
king and told him that he was the third individual to whom he 
had made himself known, the other two being Vikramaditya 
and Shudraka, both celebrated kings. Of the three he consi¬ 
dered Pravarasena to be endowed with utmost courage a..^ 
daring, as not a trace of awe had entered the heart of this king 
when he first encountered the giant. Feeling pleased with him 
he said, “If you come to me I shall answer all your questions 
and disclose to you anything that you find veiled in mystery. 
If you find it difficult to cross the river wait a moment till I 
extend my leg to your side”. Having said so the giant bridged 
the river Mahasarit (the present Tsunti Kul) with his leg and 
the king strode along the shin, steadying his steps with the help 
of his dagger, till he reached the other side near what is 
now called Khudbal. 

“Who are you ?” asked the king when he reached the other 

“I am the Bhairva, Vetal by name, a slave of the Almighty 
Shiva” was his reply. 

The Bhairava told the king that it had pleased his heart to 
meet so valiant a man as he. He told him that it was his tthv. 
king’s) ambition to found a city which would exist as long as 
the mountains. “If you,” he continued ‘ go in the direction ot 
the north the next morning, you will reach a spot spread over 


flow Sr : ruifrar was Founded 

u reddish clay* Vou should lay the foundation of the city 
at that \ ety spot at the propitious moment, and the city would 
last through the vicissitudes of time.” The Bhairava indicated 

the propitious hour for the purpose, caused the king to recross 
the river and disappeared. 

Tn nn age when large cities which have survived the ons¬ 
laught of centuries are numerous anxiety to build a city 
that would last appears to be superficial. Over a thousand 
\»ais ago, however, small cities appeared to be as frag’le as 
bn ath and very few of the famous cities of the age have ac¬ 
tually survived. Only a well-built and well governed city could 
stand the bulfets of time in the shape of conflagration, invasion, 
epidemic or famine besides the calamities of a geographical na¬ 
ture like iloods and drought. The vaHey of Kashmir is dotted 
w ith the remains of ancient capitals that lasted a few genera¬ 
tions only. 

The next day the king surveyed the land to the north as ad- 
\ iscd by the Bhairava and came to the hill of Hanparbat which 
was a few miles from his palace. Here he observed all the in¬ 
dications mentioned by the Bhairava, including the colour of 
the clay. He drove away a mighty demon who haunted the 
place, laid the foundation of his city at the propitious hour and 
gave it the name Pravapura. 

The king made arrangements for building the new capi¬ 
tal. He entrusted the task to Jaya who was a well-known ar¬ 
chitect. At the centre of the town he built a temple dedica¬ 
ted to Shiva. Some people believe that the temple existed by 
the site of Ziarat Bahaud-Din Sahib. It is said that the Dal 
Lake did not exist then and a meadow called the Vetalinimarg 
stood where the placid waters stretch to-day and it was only 
later that a mighty earthquake filled the meadow with water 
and converted it into a lake. The city of Pravarasena therefore 
suffered from a scarcity of water. The king circumvented the 
difficulty by diverting the course of the Vitasta or Jhelum. A 
barrage was raised by sinking boats laden with earth and stones 


Tales f r ° m t* R“i*‘ arang,ni 

river bed and the place has come to be known as 
into the deep of ^ats, from nav meaning a boat. A 

Nawapora or ‘ near thc f oot 0 f Hariparbat. He also 

hadt causeway built to facilitate communication 

, . Kara me the radial centre of the city and from 
Hanparba b ^ commanded a pana romic view of the lofty 

its summit uil dine S , gardens and moors, hill and dale 

and magni ce distant hi „ y ramparts of the valley. 

There^ were few cities in India to compete with it. Having 
It n pains to make his city magnificent the king was anxious 
to take all steps to protect it from any harm He invoked 
he aid of gods and other powers unseen by man and therefore 
raised numerous temples and shrines to these deities and en¬ 
dowed land for their upkeep. Five of the temples by him 
were unriva'led in magnificence. They were {i) Maheshwar. 
near the foundations of which Sultan Sikander built the Jama 
Masjid, (2) Lokeshwari which was converted into a burial 
ground' for the Sultans of Kashmir and is now known as the- 
tomb of Badshah. (3) Parvareshwari near Pokhribal, (4) Kah- 
shwari, dedicated to the goddess Kali which was later pulled 
down and close to its foundation was raised Khanaqahi Muala and 
(5) Sadbhavashri which is now the tomb of Sultan Qutub-ud- 
din. He also consecrated eight shrines to eight Bhairavas or 
inferior deities charged with the protection of the city. Besides 
this holy men approached by him in all humility were requested 
to give their benedictions. They included Vardhaman-swami 
near the hill of Shankaracharya and Sangramswami at Harwan. 
In the course of his visits to Harwan to have the benefit of con¬ 
versing with the holy man he frequently stayed at a place a 
couple of miles on this side and built a mansion which came to 
be known as Shalamar. Gradually a village developed there 
and later on the garden of unrivalled beauty was laid out in the 
form in which it exists there today. 

Among the better known kings of ancient Kashmir new 
capitals were founded by the illustrious Lalitaditya, Jayapida. 


How Srinagar wat Founded 

Avintivarmanand Shankarvnrman. T ime has effaced their cities 
I arih.itapura, Jayapura, Avantipura and Shankarpatan. But 
I ravapura, the city of Pravarasena has withstood the ravages of 
time and continues to be the city of lofty buildings and gar- 
d* ns, canals and meadows. I lie only effect of the centuries 
is that the name of Pravarasena has ceased to be associated with 
it and the city continues to be called by its original name 

The Plebeian Son-in-Law 

THE Rajatarangini opens with an account of Gonanda I, the 
founder of a house of kings who ruled Kashmir for hundreds 
of years. Gonanda participated in the Mahabharata war 
wherein he embraced the earth in an encounter with Balarama, 
the brother of Sri Krishna The last ruler of the house of 
Gonanda was named Baladitya. He is referred to as ‘Baladitya 
of glorious power’, the terror of hostile kings. 

Baladitya was gifted with a beautiful daughter but had no 
male issue. Anangalekha. the gazelle-eyed princess, was the 
‘shimmering moonlight on the ocean of love’. Once when she 
was seated by the side of her father an astrologer, reading the 
indicative marks on her person, declared that after the death of 
the king, Baladitya, the sovereignty would pass from the house 
of Gonanda and kiss the feet of his son-in-law, the husband ot 

Much though he loved his daughter, Baladitya did not 
react favourably to the prediction of his astrologer. In fact he 
took it as a timely warning and decided to make sure that his 
son-in-law had no chance of succeeding to the throne. He 
wanted to turn the course of destiny with human endeavour. 
To secure this end he decided to give his daughter in marriage 
to a young man who had no blood tie with the royal family or 
any ruling house. 

The king had it broadcast that he would give his peerless 
Anangalekha in marriage to the most handsome young man- 
He thus kept the door open for the rejection of princes and mem 
bers of ruling families. His choice ultimately fell on a young 
man named Durlabhvardhana who was an official in charge 


The Plebeian Son-in-Law 

of horse-fodder. It was a rare distinction for the petty official 
in the army remount to be raised to the lofty position of the son- 
in-law of the king. Nobody, however, knew why the king had 
thus deviated from the long standing tradition and bestowed his 
daughter on a plebeian. Meanwhile Durlabhvardhana who was 
gifted with a rare charm of appearance and wit came through 
his wedlock to possess wealth and fortune that he had never 
dreamt of. 

Baladitya’s plans succeeded so far and he went about his 
business in peace, thinking that his son-in law did not stand a 
chance to claim his throne after him and that the rule of the 
house of Gonanda was bound to survive his death. On his part 
Durlabhvardana was conscious of the shortcom ng of his birth. 
The idea of his securing the throne did not take root in his 
heart and he was content wich the good fortune that befell him. 

But his good fortune was not absolute as he soon discovered 
to his dismay. Anangalekha, his wife, was not faithful to her 
husband. Being the only child of her parents she had grown 
into a spoilt child. The intoxication of youth and the meek¬ 
ness of her husband made it more difficult for her to restrain 
herself on the slippery path. Detecting her indifference to him 
and her absolute lack of affection, he was consumed with 
sorrow and his body grew thin. 

One night when he could no longer bear the pangs of 
so’row on account of the corruption of her soul, Durlabhvar¬ 
dana ventured to slip into the interior chamber of his wife. 
The sight that met his eyes there petrified him at first and next 
sent his body aflame with wrath. He discovered his wife relax¬ 
ed in slumber and her state convinced him that she had enjoyed 
intimacy with her lover who was lying by her side. Who had 
succeeded the most handsome youngman in the affections of 
the princess, Anangalekha ? He was Khankha, the minister of 
Baladitya. Two other brothers of Khankha, named Satrughna 
and Malava were also ministers and the three had founded a 
convent and a temple and built an embankment. Not withstand- 


Tale* from the R ijatarangini 

ins that, Khankha cast longing eyes on the princess, his 
master’s daughter. He gained access to her chamber by offer¬ 
ing bribes to her attendants or by conferring honour upon 
them He had thus come to possess her mind completely and 
enjoyed her company unmindful of any rival or risk. 

When Durlabhvardhana found his wife thus, the gnawing 
pangs of jealousy urged him to seek relief by beheading her 
paramour A little reflection mede the unfortunate husband 
restrain his hand. Women, he came to think, who were pur¬ 
suers of physical love, pulled men downwards. “Why should 
a sense of ownership of gazelle-eyed women possess sensible 
men . he ruminated. Ultimately he overcame his passion foe 
vengeance But before leaving the chamber he wrote on the 
edge of the scarf of Khankha, “Remember that you have not 
been slain though you deserved to be killed.” 

The little piece of writing helped Durlabhavardhana to gain 
the throne. After he had left the chamber of his wife Khan¬ 
kha woke up and read the sentence. He was overcome with 
gratitutde for the generosity of the king’s son-in-law who had 
spared his life and forgetting Anangalekha he resolved to re¬ 
quite him. In course of time Baladitya, the king, passed away 
and having no male issue his throne remained unoccupied for 
sometime. There was a wide diversity of opinion among the 
courliers and the elders as to the successor. Khankha took the 
loose ends of this political and diplomatic activity into his own 
hands and having won the support of the principal leaders he 
had Durlabhvardhana annointed king in accordance with the 
rites. Thus did the minister requite his gratitude and thus was 
the prophecy of the astrologer fulfilled. Karkota Naga whose 
offspring he really was had begotten* him for the crown when 
his mother had taken a purificatory bath at the spring, though 
the people did not know it. 

n r P ur .* a ^ a ’» sa V s Cunningham, “is said to have been the son 
f „_A Nu * a ' ° r *^ ra K on - By this appellation I understand that his 
!hT nJ* as r 81ven ophiolatry, or serpent worship, which had been 

P e\aihng religion of Kashmir from time immemorial. 

The Ancient Geography of India 


The Merchant of Itolitak 

DURLARIIVARDHAN, formely of the department of provender, 
ruled Kashmir for thirty six yeari and founded the Karima 
dynasty which produced rulers like Lalitaditya and Jayapida. 
He was succeeded by his son Durlshhska whom his mother 
Anangalekha, regarding him as her father’s heir, gave the 
appellation of Pratapnditya in accordance with the tradition of 
the dynasty of her father Baladitya. 

Pratapaditya gave peace to the country and many merchants 
from different states were thus encouraged to settle there. 
Among them was a merchant of the Mania caste who hailed 
from Rauhitaka or Rohtak The merchant was pious and mag* 
nanimous and built a rest-house or convent in Kashmir for the 
Brahmins who travelled thither on pilgrimage for practices of 
penance or meditation, Kashmir having been a well-known 
place of pilgrimage and learning from remote ages Pratapa- 
ditya was obviously pleased with this deed of the merchant and 
invited him to the palace out of a desire to express his appre¬ 

As a guest of the king the merchant received an honour 
worthy of his host. He stayed in the palace for the night and 
the next morning when the king by way of courtesy inquired if 
he had spent the night comfortably, the merchant complained 
of a headache caused by an excess of soot in the lamps. It 
came as a surprise to the King that anybody could be so fasti¬ 
dious about the traces of soot coming from the palace lamps, 
and he wondered what the sources of light in his own house 
could be which were proof against the sooty odour, 1 he 
king did not, of course, expose his thoughts to the merchant but 


Tales from the Rajatarangini 

the latter 

expressed a desire to see the merchant’s house and 
extended the invitation to him in befitting words. 

no, N °t‘ '° ng I'" '° rd ° f Kashmir was Scorned as an ho- 
d gxestby the merchant. At night Pratapaditya was 

amazed to see that light was radiated from lamps made of je- 

phJiatedT !"Vu ' nkling iMO the immcnsi wealth and so- 
lendo, P 3S * °j the merchant that expressed itself in this sp- 
now f ra * a P a «tya looked small in his own eyes and it was 
now Clear to h.m why the merchant had complained of a head- 
<■ C cause by the soot when he was the king’s guest. There 
were some more surprises for the royal guest, and he was per¬ 
suaded to accept the hospitality of his friend for more than one 
day and to extend his stay. He enjoyed luxury and honour 

befitting his distinguished rank and worthy of the wealth and 
ingenuity of his host. 

On one occasion in the course of this visit the king caught 
a glimpse of the figure of his hostess, the merchant’s wife, as 
she was amusing herself in the privacy of her terrace. Her 
face was like the moon and her limbs were the embodiment of 
perfection Her breasts were full and her hips well matched. 
As she looked towards the king ‘her eyes stretched wide up to 
the ears.’ The king felt that she held the secret of the felicity 
of love and his heart was touched with desire. She shifted be¬ 
hind a column but continued to look at the king again and 
again, the outcome of a feeling of sympathy for the royal host 
whose heart she knew she had captivated. He retired to his 
apartment pensively. 

The King had got himself involved in an embarrassing si¬ 
tuation. He could not forget the lovely sight that had got in¬ 
delibly imprinted on his mind and he felt that he could not 
make himself happy unless he enjoyed the bliss of her company 
and love. Yet she was a married lady, the wife of his friend 
and his hostess. Aware of his responsibilities as a ruler which 
made it incumbent upon him to be righteous and beyond the 


The Merchant of Rohtak ; 

shadow of reproach or scandal he was filled with remorse on 
account of the 'intolerable reversal’ of the conduct expected 
Irom even the humblest citizen. “Where the king himself 
i 3mmiIs abduction of the wives of the subjects,” he ruminated, 
“who else indeed is there who would punish the transgression 
of the moral law ?” But no amount of self-reproach enabled 
him to foiget the lotus-eyed wife of the merchant. 

, ^ couise of time the king, consumed with desire, grew 
t hm and cma ciated like a reed and many people learnt of the 
SCc rc ^ merchant s wife. The delicate matter was at last 

whispered into the ears of the merchant. Far from flying into 
jealous passion the merchant showed remarkable balance and 
enviable forbearance. Regarding the problem philosophically, 
he came to the conclusion that 'a moment of life was worth an 
a^e of good fame and that w 1 de-spread reputation could never 
be an elixir to the ears of the dead’. He therefore approached 
the king and expostulated with him for inflicting suffering on 
himself and letting himself be restrained by the law. “When 
the life of a living creature is in jeopardy”, he advised him, 
“there is nothing whatsoever which he may not do.” 

The merchant urged the king to accept his wife as his own 
and assured him that life itself was of no value to him in the 
interests of the sovereign. “Let there be no consideration about 
me on your part”, the merchant submitted. The king’s mind 
was for long treading the razor-edge of indecision between the 
pull of the elephants of desire and the heavy weight of proprie¬ 
ty* The words of the merchant, full of sinceiety and wordly 
wisdom, considerably lightened the burden on his heart and 
he almost made up his mind to welcome to his palace the lady 
who had haunted him ever since he had seen her. It appeared, 
however, that he did not feel strong enough for the task 

The merchant was conscious of the king’s reluctance in 
transgressing the social and moral law, and out of his concern 
for the king he came forward with a solution that would salve 
the conscience of his royal friend. The lady who had bewitch- 


Tales from the Kcijufiittingttw 

cd the heart of Pratapaditya was an accomplished dancer and 
the merchant volunteered to offer her in that capacity to a 
temple and advised the king to take her from there. Many 
kings had honoured temple dancers with wedlock and Pratap- 
aditya reflected that he could escape public odium and self- 
reproach it he accepted the lady under such circumstances. 

The lady became his consort eventually and won approba¬ 
tion for her noble deeds, thus casting into the background the 
frivolity of her conduct in the past. She built a temple dedi¬ 
cated to Shiva. She became the mother of several children to 
the king who attained renown, including Lalitaditya Mukta- 


A Victim 

of Black Art 

Dimt-ABHKA alias Pratapacl.tya waa succ dd ^ Rohtak . 
pida, his eldest son by the forced Ba ofhis 

The new king discharged his what he ca red 

subjects, for he was wiser than his ^^ ^ - n spirlt 

most about, however, was t e o ser deviate from 

and letter. He would never perm,t h ‘ msf ‘° ^ 

this course, no matter what the urgency. It appea 

wanted to keep clear of the predicament of h * fa * e b 

round the difficulty in marrying the lady of h,s 
means not above reproach. 

The king desired a temple to be built and consecrated o 
Tribhavanaswamin. The alignment for the construction was 
laid at a place where stood a cobbler’s but in a corner. The 
officials asked the latter to shift elsewhere and gave him the 
assurance that he would be compensated for his loss and in¬ 
convenience. Probably a different department was responsible 
for making out the amount due to the cobbler and nothing was 
paid to him by the time the officials in charge of the construc¬ 
tion wanted him to demolish the hut. The cobbler, therefore, 
refused obstinately to permit the new construction. 

The officials reported the matter to Chandrapida and earned 
his displeasure on account of their failure to satisfy the cobbler 
before proceeding with the work. He had the construction 
stopped, for he did not want the officials to go ahead under the 
impulse that they were right and acting under the orders ot the 
king. “If we ourselves who are the judges of what is right 
or otherwise encourage what is unlawful, who should tread the 
path which is according to the law ?** 


/ »i\ ' from thr Rajotarangini 

TV nex.d.y the .turfy cobbler sought an audience with 
A* hr w »" • member of the lowest c^to * 

" M '‘* ,u ' VVtt " reived in the vestibule and the kina 

the price that he chose to name. ' k ? ° ffered him 

l he cobbler was, however not j-rr 

o>mpUined to the king how his sense of IV™' ^ ^ he 
bv the official* who expected him to vacate hbTT Hun 
because the king wanted it “The distr ' vellln 8 merely 
tfc'irure of his house,” he told th<» l' re8S ° a man at 
either by an immortal faHen ZmT ^ U d " criW 
deposed from sovereignty.” He t ° r by a kin S 

wa * no less dear to him than th ° lm that bls hoveI of mud 

he zr soing to t"e officer was to a king and that 

' v °nt to the cobbler’swTn^ * ? 3 ° f injured pride > 

the owner r^etVed laXTh 

a PPoared before Yuddhistra in Z (o" m £ T"' ' <Dharma 
righteousness, so did I an ♦ L , ° fa do § to test his 

King I yielding to an inf^ H u'"’ *** in your «*• O 
'he Law is worthy of you ” U Th e l the C ° mpe,hn 8 influence of 

[” ‘'""“‘‘ad nstetuL''," "'o„,T Sj” 1 "* 1 ' 


*n bed and held the king resn dapnved °' his Mfe while 
the woraland social law bv ” tbe tran sgression of 

hi m- Inanswerto the no ° meb ° dy “'*«** land ruled bv 
submitted that her husband? 8 m3de , ty ^ WmS ,he w °man 
mmd, soft of speech, free fro? ? ' ^ innoce nt, cool in 
and a ‘over of virtue and that ° r £nVy ’ easy of ad dress 

bav,n 8 taken his life becaus "ft not th >nk of anybody 

bu ‘-e Clue, that of anoth e ; B r : f h hatred ° r —‘'y. She gave 

husband, a re8ideM J\ Brah mm associate of her deceased 
" MaiSUm> Wh ° b6inS ^ °in 1^27 


A Victim of Black Art 

f led in competitive fame might have resorted to this foul deed 
a 'th the help of sorcery* in which he was well versed. The 
vUm d-manded justice and having already abstained from 
touching food, expressed her resolve to continue her hunger 
strike till the culprit was found and punished. 

The unnatural death of any of the king’s subjects was a bad 
enough reflection on his rule, but much worse was the death of 
a good and learned Brahmin. By her hungerstrike th 
petitioner imparted a peculiar urgency to the need for tracing 
out the culprit. She thus made the task of the king more diffi¬ 
cult. She named the person whom she suspected but the king, 
as the lord and father of the subjects entrusted to his care, 
could not act on the mere suspicion of the petitioner ; and 
the king in the person of the illustrious Chandrapida who res¬ 
pected the observance of the moral law above everything else 
would apportion no blame unless, to use an oft-quoted oriental 
expression, milk was separated from water. He interrogated 
the Brahmin named by the woman but could not come to any 
reliable conclusion as to his guilt. In this process the Brahmin 
woman re-emphasised her plea that the Brahnrn was an adept 
in the use of sorcery, but the king did not want to prejudge the 
issue and reprimanded her, “If the guilt is not proved, what 
are we to do ?” The woman had no answer to this and merely 
repeated her feeling of distress, “I refrained from following my 
busband in death because I was anxious for retaliation on the 

murderer. I have been starving for the last four days and 

if no justice is meted out, I shall starve myself to death”. 

Chandrapida was no wiser in the matter even though he had 
used all his wits and exhausted practically all the means of 
arriving at the truth. There was only one avenue left open to 
the king and that was to pray for light from God. The king, 
therefore, kept a solemn fast and sought redress for the wrong 
from Tribhavanasvamin to whom he had already consecrated a 
temple. On the fourth night of the fast the god, Vishnu, ap- 

•See Appendix 


Talcs from the Ra jotarnngwi 

ice \ J ,h ,® Cam an<i inMructed Wm to put into prac 

narilv ^ thc trulh » method that waa ordi- 

h n : ,r am : :r“ bUt Was *** "commended 

cause of thc commendable spiritual power of the royal devo- 

In accordance with the instructions of the god the king had 

ricVmwJ 31 ' T| thC ,. tC ? Ple ° f Tribhav -masvamin strewn with 

asked tot ' I K ' nlhmm onw hom the suspicion lay was 
read round the sanctum in the manner of devotees 

" ° n this occasion this had to be done at night 

10 mg ad been forewarned that during the day the sun 
removes all evil. When the Brahmin did so, a careful obser¬ 
vation of the rice powder revealed that behind the imprint of his 
eps there was the trail of the footsteps of a female spec- 
re cal ed brahmahatya. These answered the descripti on revea- 
to t e king in the dream. The guilt of the Brahmin was 
t us proved beyond a doubt to the satisfaction of the king and 
e was punished, though being a Brahmin he was exempted 
rom capital punishment The woman was satisfied and ended 
her hunger-strike. 

Owing to his spiritual power he was able to trace a crime 
committed through the practice of sorcery. Unfortunately, 
however, this embodiment of justice and upholder of the moral 
law himself fell a victim to the black art which resulted in his 
death. His brother T-irapida grew jealous of his power and 
engaged the very Brahmin to practise sorcery upon the king 
himself. The Brahmin was already enraged owing to the punish¬ 
ment awarded to him. The encouragement received from 
Tarapida, the younger brother of the king, emboldened him 
to use every arrow in his quiver with the result that Chandra- 
pida actually succumbed to the foul practice. He had upheld 
the tradition and spared the Brahmin his life but the deed re¬ 
coiled upon him and the ungrateful sorcerer caused his death. 
While he was on his death-bed the necromancer was brought 
to him to receive his punishment but the Icing graciously for- 


A Victim of Black Art 

gave him saying that the blame lay on him who had made use 
of the sorcerer. 

Chandrapida’s brother Tarapida ascended the throne. Fear¬ 
ing the power of the Brahmins he began persecuting them on 
trifles. Through secret sorcery they succeded in putting an 
end to his life at the end of a reign of only four years. 



R^N AD ATT A was a king who was married to an extremely 
^1. damsel said to have been taken out o water miracu- 
Hu- by one Vratasen of the Deccan. The lady gave birth 
to a son Vinayadatta. At the age of eleven the young P« 
went on a pilgrimage to the shrines and «cred p aces • 

On his way back he met a holy man named Ganapat. m 
Sivalak hills and was accepted by the sage as his . 

navadatta studied at his feet and had to undergo s r 
li- so much so that for a period of did nc> 

take anything except a daily cup ot m • . tv 

purity of mind and spiritual eminence. At the end 
years'he returned to Kashmir at the behest of hts pr eeptor 
and spent a year at the temple of Jeshtheshwar on the h.ll 
Gopadari or Shankaracharya. 

Just then the throne of the country fell vacant under strange 
circumstances. One day the king, Ranadatta, and his queen 
entered the cave at Bumozuva near Mattan and were not seen 
asain. The whole army together with the populace combed 
'every inch of space for three days in their effort to restore the 
' k i„g to the throne, but all in vain. On the fourth day a snow¬ 
fall occur-ed in the month of Savan (i.e. July-August), i 
brought about a landslide and resulted in the death of a large 

number of troops 

The nobles therefore approached Vinayadatta and entreated 
him to ascend the throne, but he declined the offer. \\ hen 
the repeated entreaties of the nobles brought forth no fruit, 
people came to him in hundreds and thousands and persuaded 
him to become their ruler. Before finally giving his consent 
he asked the people to take several vows. He laid down 



V <•*<!'« tla'ta 

r > one in bi« kinc ^m ahrnild tell a lie. no otv* < v)uM break his 
word, nr> one should rat anythin® that did not belnn® to h'm 
*nd that no one should kill or injure animals or birds The 
pc< plr were bent upon making him their ruler to such an 
extent that they took the vows. W hen he was onvinced of 
thru ®r»od faith and honesty, he came out of the temple and 
built for himself a habitation at Gagribal at the foot of Shank¬ 
ar acharya hill. He also ®ot two granaries bu lt nearby to 
store the revenue to the state from the two halves of h»s 
kingdom, viz. Maraz (i e., the southern half) and Karrraz 
(the northern half). He had it proclaimed that at the end of 
the year his subjects should voluntarily deposit in the two 
warehouses a tenth of the yield of their lands as »heir contri¬ 
bution to the state. The people obeyed him and carried out 
his wishes accordingly. Consequently he discharged all 
officials entrusted with the machinery of civil administration 
and his subjects neither interfered with others nor suffered 
on account of the interference of others. 

He appointed his brother Bikramadatta to command the 
army which had to be maintained to protect the state against 
aggression from outside. The king handed over the key of 
the granary for Kamraz to his brother. He was asked to open 
the door of the granary at the end of the month and to let the 
troops have their salary in kind. He himself kept the key of 
the other warehouse and every evening distributed among the 
poor and the needy whatever was stored there during the day 
and did not keep anything over for the next day. Thus there 
was nothing in the warefnuse-cum-treasury t Q tempt the king. 
Even if there was anything left over, he who had given an 
oath to his subjects not to take anything that did not belong to 
them would not partake of what had not been raised w ith his 
own labour He maintained himself not on a portion of the 
land revenue, not on the offerings from his subjects but with 
his own exertions. He broke a piece of fallow land and cul¬ 
tivated it for his own needs. Of course, he deposited one-tenth 
of the produce like his fellow' citizens 


Tales from the R i jatarangini 

It is said that in his reign honest and god-fearing peoph- 
lived happily and did not suffer harm or discomfort on any 
account. Even animals and birds enjoyed a period of bliss 
unknown to that kind. If any of his subjects hesitated in 
paying the tithe to the state he got into one severe predicament 
or another. If anyone appropriated what was not his punish¬ 
ment was inflicted upon him from some unknown quarter and 

if a person was guilty of an act of high-handedness his arm 

The historian Ratnakar has assigned the period 531-578 
B. S. to Vinayadatta but other historians have not mentioned 
him m any detail. Whether such a king really existed or 
u Aether the account of his reign is the outcome of an exercise in 
imaginative creation of an ideal primitive agricultural state is 
not quite certain. But the tale of Vinayadatta has deeply 
impressed the consciousness of the people of Kashmir. Even 
in this sophisticated age whenever anybody turns out to be 
unexpectedly good, honest or straightforward, the people say, 
“The age of Vinayadatta has returned”. 


A Snare for a Kin®; 

In h is long and eventful rule lasting over thirty-six years, (AD 
695-731)* Lalitaditya created history. The two kings imme¬ 
diately preceding him had fallen victim to the art of sorcery 
practised upon them by Brahmins on the instigation of inter - 
ested persons. But Lalitaditya was a mighty king and his 
resolute will made him proof against all the dark shafts ot 
witches and necromancers. As to his ambition the historian 
has well said, “For rivers which have set out from their own 
region the ocean is the limit but nowhere is there a limit for 
those who are frankly aspiring to be conquerors.” His ambi¬ 
tion for conquest was never satiated. His enemies sometimes 
took advantage of it and involved him in grave dangers. 
Ultimately he lost his life in one such expedition for conquest. 

Once when he was on a compaign, a man threw himself 
before the elephant on which Lalitaditya was seated. The 
man bore fresh wounds on his body and the very sight of the 
blood flowing from his nose and his limbs evoked pity. He 
praved to the king for protection against the tyrant whom he 
described as their common enemy. The king was filled w ith 
pity and inquired of the unfortunate petitioner how he 
had sustained his injuries. The latter made submission that 
he came from a land on the edge of the Sea of hand (Gob, 
desert) As the minister ,0 the ruler he had advised his maste 
to make submiss,on ,0 the high and rrughty Lal.tad.tya m 
whose cause he was proud to be a humble worker. H,s 
advice had not only been rejected but he had also been subject¬ 
ed to humiliation and dire punishment the marks of which, 

his humble testimony to his friendship for Lai,taditya. needed 

1 , • _ Thf* king’s pride was hurt even while 

further explanation I he king s p 



raies from the Rajatarangini 

his heart was swelling with pity. While he had the wounds of 
the person attended to by competent persons chief among 
whom was Cankuna or Tsiang Kuin, a trusted minister 
whom the king had invited from Central Asia, and his brother- 
in-law- Isanachandra, he promised the victim of his friendship 
that he would punish his master, the obstinate ruler. 

The incident remained in the dark recesses of Lalitaditya 
mind for sometime as his hands were full with another 
campaign. When the time was opportune and he was all by 
h-mself, the man once again provoked the king to punitive 
action against his mister saying that he safeguarded his frail 
body merely because this chastening hope of vengeance is 
seducing me’ and advised the king that ‘the injury to be 
inflicted on the foe should appear like the reverberating echo of a 
voice in a narrow valley.’ He, however, forewarned the king 
of the d'fficulties involved in this campaign. He informed him 
that his master was at a distance of three months’ march from 
the place and that he would flee his state on hearing of the 
arrival of the mighty invader. It would, therefore, not be 
possible for Lalitaditya to punish him To avoid this dis¬ 
appointment the minister revealed to him a shorter route only 
a fortnight’s march which was, however, devoid of water “If 
water lasting a fortnight could be carried,” he told the king, 
“it is advisable to follow this short route.” 

The alternative plan presented by the minister appealed to 
the king because it was expeditious and based on surprise. 
Accordingly he followed this route. In course of time their 
supplies of water were exhausted even though the troops need¬ 
ed it in greater quantities as they marched over the hills or 
the oceans of sand. Every day the soldiers on the march came 
to feel increasing strain on their bodies and there was a weaken- 
ing in their morale. Lalitaditya once asked the minister how 
far his land was. To this the latter mockingly replied, “Does 
your highness ask for the enemy’s land or the realm of Death?” 
He d sclosed that out of loyalty for his master and utter disre* 


A Snare for a King 

r( j 0 f his own life he had played a ruse tip^n the intrepid king 
nho was artfully led into the jaws of death along with his army. 
Proud at the apparent fulfilment of his mission the minister 
sneeringly told the king that the ‘lord of the earth* had been 
transported to the midst of an ocean of sand where the dry 
waves would engulf him. At this juncture the news spread 
through the surging ranks of the army and the timid among 
them started wailing loudly. 

This was a predicament unforeseen even by a bold ard 
sagacious commander like Lalitaditya. But his nerve remained 
unaffected. To dismiss the fears of his soldiers he raised his 
arm and shouted, “Your loyalty to your master pleases me 
immensely even though we have been placed in a difficult situa- 
tion. But I am the embodiment of impregnability and your 
effort suffers with me even as iron cannot stand the stroke of 
diamond. Your limbs have suffered in vain, for at my com¬ 
mand the earth will reveal its hidden waters.” 

Having said this the king seized his spear and began to 
scratch the earth. One of his ministers Cankuna, an alchemist, 
was well-versed in geology and metallurgy who had brought 
much gold into the treasury by his alchemy. The king, assis¬ 
ted no doubt by the experts, struck water and a stream welled 
up. The troops felt refreshed and continued their march into 
the country of the minister with the mutilated limbs. The ru¬ 
ler of that land was punished for his crooked ways. 


The Other City 

LAL1TADITYA founded several towns. His ministers and his 
queens also endeavoured likewise to have their memories simi¬ 
larly perpetuated. These latter were probably no bigger than 
small villages. Of the towns founded by the king the foremost 
were Lalitapora, which still exists in the form of Letapur, a 
lew miles above Pampur on the main Srinagar-Jammu high¬ 
way, and Parihasapura, a few miles below Srinagar on the 
Jhelum. The ruins of the last named have been unearthed by 
archaeologists. Apart from the palaces and other houses that 
were built in that town, Lalitaditya built magnificent temples 
dedicated to Vishnu and other gods with images of gold, sil¬ 
ver, bronze, etc. He also built viharas and quadrangles for 
the followers of the Buddha. 

This city was thus resplendent with wealth and glory as be¬ 
fitted the favourite capital of a mighty and ambitious king. 
Srinagar, the primordial capital of Kashmir, founded originally 
by Asoka and shifted five miles northwards by Pravarasena, 
was divested of some of its glory when the king, the courtiers 
and the nobles forsook it for the new capital. With all that, 
however, Parihasapura had the vigour and vanity of an upstart, 
the pride and presumptuousness of a bejewelled courtesan who 
has newlv won the favours of the k’ng. On the other hand, the 
city of Pravarasena possessed the wisdom and respectability 
accumulated through the ages, something of the timelessness 
associated with ancient races and cultures. Even the king felt 
that in spite of the wealth and wonders of Parihasapura, peo¬ 
ple could not forget Srinagar with all the accretions of age it 


the ( hhrr <M y 

On one occasion (he king was staying at FurihuMfurN, an 
joying the company of the ladies of the household. |f r W4ll 
flushed with wine and t-h<* con variation turned on th*- rompara 
tive beauty ol the two (it ion. I he praiae bestowed on Srinagar 
provoked him and calling hia officera he commanded them to 
set fire to the city of Pravaraaena which, the people held, rival- 
led the city he had founded. 

The officers were thus faced with a grave dilemma. They 
would not and could not set ablaze Srinagar with its thousands 
of houses, temples, viharas and palaces. In that city dwelt 
learned men and wise, for being a» the confluence of several 
highways of culture and scholarship it dominated India, China 
and Central Asia. It was a centre of trade too, No one could 
therefore, heartlessly set fire to a city like this, raze it to the 
ground and be the victim of the curses of the innocent, and 
eternal ignominy at the hands of the learned scribes. Yet a 
command was a command and there was no one in the realm 
who could willingly incur the displeasure of the mighty Lali- 
taditya They knew that the king was in a fit of intoxication 
and before the effect of wine wore off he could order the deca¬ 
pitation of the officers for disobeying him with the same dis¬ 
regard with which he had desired the destruction of the city 
where he was annointed 

In this predicament the officers sought the counsel of Mit- 
rasarma, the wisest, the most devoted and the most sagacious 
of all the ministers in the realm. As expected, he discovered 
a solution even in that emergency. He ordered that the caval 
ry haystacks be burnt; and as the officers carried out the instruc¬ 
tions to their immense relief, Lalitaditya witnessed the sky lit 
with flames and felt satisfied that the capital of his creation 
would thenceforth reign unrivalled as the most glorious and 
beautiful city in the kingdom. 

The intoxication on the king ultimately wore off and he was 
filled with sorrow that he had caused the city of Pravarasena to 
be turned into cinders. He very well visualised the misery 


Tales from the Rajatarangtni 

and destitution that his perversity would have caused to rich 
and poor alike and was quite ashamed of himself for having 
succumbed to a fit of jealous frenzy like a vulgar barbarian or 
a coarse witch. The ministers found him heaving sighs of re¬ 
morse and with pride infoimed him that what he had witnes¬ 
sed at night was more like an occurrence in a theatre than one 
of real life which it had simulated. The king was immensely 
pleased to learn that Srinagar had been spared the doom and 
tuit all he had to be ashamed of was an unbecoming order and 
not its implementation. He w'ell visualised the calamity that 
might befall his subjects if he was provoked on anv other occa¬ 
sion to issue commands likewise. The ministers who had 
satisfied the king’s craving and yet spared the city received 
euologies from him and he directed that in future the orders 
given by him while under intoxication should not be carried 



The Giantft of Gauda 

WHILE recounting the faults of Lalitaditya Kalhana mentions 
an instance of his breach of faith ‘worthy of ordinary kings’. 
Twelve hundred years ago Kashmir attracted visitors who 
undertook distant journeys in search of learning,* like the 
illustrious Hiuen Tsang, or in the garb of pilgrims. In these 
days the shrine of Shardhaji (the goddess of learning) in 
Kashmir attracted miny pilgrims The shrine is located to 
the north in the valley of the Kishenganga in the system of 
hills surrounding the valley of Kashmir and is at present under 
the occupation of Pakistan. Shardhaji was an important centre 
of learning too. 

The king of Gauda in Bengal expressed a desire to under¬ 
take a journey through Kashmir and pay homage to the goddess 
of learning at Shardhaji. But he wanted to be reassured about 
his safety while in the realm of Lalitaditya because he could 
not probably be permitted to take all steps necessary for his 
security and protection. The king of Kashmir gave the 
assurance ; but who was going to try a defaulter for breach of 
faith in those hoary days ? The intending pilgrim wanted the 
assurance of Lalitaditya to be weighed with greater solemnity 
and the latter offered the holy Parihasakesava as his surety. 

Parihasakesava was the patron deity of the splended capital. 
Parihasapur built by Lalitaditya about a dozen miles below 
Srinagar. In this city the king built magnificent temples dedi¬ 
cated to Vishnu while his ministers Mitrasarma and Cankuna 
built respectively a temple in the name of Shiva and a vihar 

* In his Detopadeta, Kshemendra, a contemporary of Kalhana, makes 
fun, among others, of the Guada students studying in Kashmir. 
‘Lean and skeleton-like,’ he says 4 they gather strength and grow fat.* 


r.iir* f» m thr Riijatanrogint 

with .t \ftu'ti. Forrmolt inumaat i^.l. 


and undertook the pilgrimage. 

It is not known how long it took the king of Gauda to reach 
Kashmir, Almost a thousand years later the Mughal emperors 
took several m )nths to cover the journey from Delhi to the 
valley ; and Bengal was a long way off beyond dense tropical 
forests, mighty rivers and stretch upon stretch of the plain 
under the beating sun of India. Having reached Srinagar the 
royal pilgrim proceeded noith to Sopore at the mouth of the 
Wular lake and thence to Trigrami or modem Trehgram, 
which was till recently an important pilgrim centre for all 
those intending to proceed to Shardhaji. 

Trehgram is a town nestled in a forest sprawling over a hill. 
There is a large and beautiful spring which supplies the life¬ 
blood to a number of villages around. Being in control of the 
nerve-centre of several routes leading out of the fertile valley 
of Kashmir through tribe infested hills to Poonch, Muza- 
farabad and Hazara-Rawalpindi, or the more distant Kagan. 
Chilas, (digit, Kashgar and China, Trehgam was and still is an 
important town. As in all towns of this type, Trehgam har¬ 
boured many foreign elements in its population-travellers, 
adventurists and shady characters who frequently upset the 
peace in the valley. 

For reasons best known to him Lalitaditya seems to have 

cci e to go back upon the assurance and solemn promise 

given to his host. Such a conduct, says Kalhana, is worthy only 

° f aR d he attributes it to the influence of time 

h*» 6 T °i rU ^ er ^ as hmir. Without mincing words 

the h 1 c\ a ^ tac ^ tya Fad the royal pilgrim murdered with 
the help of desperadoes at Trigrami.* 

/ he (Hants of Gauda 

»m the nutter did not re.t there. It wa, a foul and trea- 

' ° U * ,mlm ,he cour,c "< ‘'me the news reached Ciauda. 

On., can well .m.gme the sorrow In the hearts of the people of 

•and., I heir fee m„ „f revulsion for the king and the people 
o! kashmir, and the urge in them for tetribut.on. Bengal is 
« m n today a long, long way off Kashmir, but so strong was the 

rr pn I*? 4 "'* 1 UhUtU, y» in the minds of the friends of 

i b Lta *u • m ® tha ’ many "P' rite d people actually set out 
o slake their thirst for vengeance with the blood of the 
treacherous ruler. 

They entered Kashmir through recognised pas es and to 
avoid suspicion declared themselves to be pilgrims on the way 
to bhardhaji. Gradually they trickled to Parihasapura. the 
capital of Lalitaditya. Unfortunately for them, however, the 
king had left the valley in this interval and it was for the mo¬ 
ment beyond them to harm him. In the alternative they deci¬ 
ded to wreak their vengeance on the deity of the treacherous 
ing whom he had offered as his surety and thus managed to 
deceive his erstwhile guest 

They surrounded the temple of Parihasakesava. Before 
any mischief could be done the priests became suspicious and 
closed the gates on them*. These was an alarm and in the 
absence of the king messangers were rushed to the ministers. 
Troops were called to deal with the dark intruders. But the 
suicide squad burning with holy anger could not be restrained 
till then. They entered the adjacent temple ol Ramusvamin, a 
structure of stone by the side of a Shiva shrine, pulled down 
the silver statue mistaking it for that of Parihasakesava and 
pulverised it to atoms. The troops had reached the spot by 
this time and they engaged their guests in no uncertain 

* The ancient temples of Kashmir were massive structures of 
stone bnilt usually in the form of a quadrangle with lofty walls. 
On several occasions armies took refuge in such temples as at 
Vijesvara and Avantipora, against stronger enemies. It is, there 
fore, understandable that the zealots of Gauda could not force 
open the gates of the temple of Parihasakesava or scale its walls. 


Tales from the Rajatarangini 

manner. Saturated with devotion to their dead master and 
determined themselves to avenge the insult, the band of young 
men from Gauda were not deterred from their task even while 
suffering under the blows of their adversaries They attended 
to it though they were bleeding and the earth was turned 
hideous like the shambles. They gave their lives one after 
another but showed not the least sign of fear and left not a 
trace of the statue of Ramasvamin. In the words of the 
historian “Even for Fate it was not possible to achieve what the 
people of Gauda did at that time.” He is all praise for their 
daring and devotion. “Even at the present time”, he says, 
“the temple of Ramasvamin may be seen empty, on the other 
hand the cosmic universe is filled with the fame of the brave 
men of Gauda.” 


The End of Lalitaditya 

\VHU F giving an account of the reign of Lalitaditya, Kalhana 
m ,kc» what can be regarded only as a passing reference to h» 
demise. Lalitaditya started on a mighty expedition in the 
north after having occupied the throne for thirtysix years, and 
all that his people learnt about him afterwards was the message 
known as ‘Lalitaditya's testament’. Kalhana hints at several 
versions about his death. One of these is that he entered the 
flames during some crisis to safeguard his own prestige. 

Ka’hana was a contemporary of Harshadeva, (1089—1101, 
A. D.) and has recorded the events of his life in minute 
detail. Towards the end of his life Harsha had to face a revolt 
from his own cousins and being unable to cope with the 
situation he took counsel with his ministers so as to follow a 
course befitting a king. It is in this context that Kalhana gives 
a detailed account of the death of Lalitaditya put in the mouth 
of Harsha. 

In the region of the north while Lalitaditya was proceeding 
unhampered, a loophole in his plan was noticed by the enemy 
who employed his strategy so as to disperse the grand army in 
various passes, and the invader himself was left with only a 
few soldiers in a pass. The enemy then blocked the pass and 
Lalitaditya, left without his army and the supplies, was trap¬ 
ped and his adversary, Salya, alongwith the hordes of his ca¬ 
valry took a vow to take him alive as a captive. Lalitaditya 
who had never faced a situation as unfavourable and grim as 
the present one, pondered over how he could seek his escape. 
No solution presented itself to him, nor did he deem it proper 
to open negotiations. Feeling absolutely depressed he asked 


r<iIf5/ro?n the Rdjrtfiudngmi 

the most trusted of his ministers, Bhavasvamin, to advise him 
as to how he should tackle the situation. 

Like many other ministers of the age Bhavasvamin was a 
warrior-statesman who alongwith his master had returned home 
crowned with glory from dozens of battle-fields. But he had the 
rare quality of devotion to his master to the point of self-ex¬ 
tinction. Having applied his mind to the situation he realised 
that the king, already past the best in h's glorious career, was 
on the brink ot misfortune. After raising the edifice of his 
renown through a life-time of effort the king could demolish it 
by one last act, Bhavasvamin came to the conclusion that no¬ 
thing could retrieve the military situation for the king, but that 
all ellorts should be made to save his illustrious name from 
being stained. Barring a favourable military decision which 
was impossible the other ways out of the predicament compri¬ 
sed unconditional surrender to Salya leading to imprisonment, 
and suicide. Both these courses were out of the question. 
Continued fighting with only a handful of followers against the 
enemy who far outnumbered him meant certain capture as vo¬ 
wed by Salya who would see to it that Lalitaditya got no 
chance to die a hero’s death fighting. Suicide under the cir¬ 
cumstances contravened the code of chivalry and honour. Both 
the minister and the king felt that the act of self-slaughter would 
tempt the posterity to blacken his name. Yet the minister 
decided upon the king seeking voluntary death to his imprison¬ 
ment. He formed a plan to take the stain of suicide out of 
the voluntary death that the king would have to seek. “The 
job of the statesman is to conserve renown ; deeds which aim 
at the enlargement of territory trail far behind it,” thought the 
minister. He advised the king to practise a ruse : he was im¬ 
mediately to proclaim that he had suffered a sudden attack of 
a disease called dandaklaska, a kind of colic. The next step, 
the minister said, would follow the next day. 

The king feigned an attack of the disease as advised and was 
seen rolling on the ground with ‘unbearable pain’. In the ‘pa¬ 
roxysms’ he groaned and tore his hair. His people tried various 


The End of Lalitaditya 

remedies which included sweating, massage and vomitting, but 
nothing brought about an abatement of the malady and it came 
to be whi'pered that the king was passing through the last 
hours of his life. Without telling the king anything Bhava- 
svamin, on account of his devotion to his liege being unable to 
stand his death, ascended the pyre and ended his life in flames. 
Lalitaditya learnt about it, caught the hint thrown by his mi¬ 
nister at such high cost to his person and inwardly felt deep 
appreciation for it. He declared that he could not bear the 
intense suffering on account of his malady and consigned his 
body to the flames. Thus did the minister save the reputation 
of his master at the cost of his own life. 


Adventure and Romance 

THE Great Lalitaditya Muktapida was lost in the course of one 
of his expeditions in the north. He had two sons by his queens 
Kamala and Chakaramardhika, but neither of them quite answer¬ 
ed his expectations. The king’s heart was, on the other hand, 
set on the youngest of his grandsons Jayapida. and he advised 
his courtiers to instruct the lad thus: “May you be like the 


Lalitaditya was succeeded by his eldest son accordring to 
the king’s testament. In the course of a few years two or three 
successive occupants of the throne died and Jayapida was in¬ 
vested with the sceptre and crown. He had immense self- 

confidence and the instructions of his grandfather deep y im¬ 
pressed him. Without wasting much time attending to the 
affairs of the state, he entrusted the administration to his bro 
ther-in-law Jijja and he himself set out towards the plains of 
India in search of adventure. 

During his wanderings he reached the city of Paundravar- 
dhana in the kingdom of Gauda in Bengal. An earlier king 
of Gauda had been got murdered in Trehgam in Kashmir by 
Lalitaditya and it was indiscreet or overbold on the part of the 
exuberant grandson to invite danger in that very kingdom. All 

the same, he moved about in disguise without any protection 

or helper except his own wit and valour. Nobody however, 
knew Z his arrival. He visited the temple of Kart.keya where 
a dancer displayed her talent in Bharatnatyam to propitiate 
the deity in accordance with the age-old custom. She was en- 
thralled by his appearance and felt that he could not be a com- 
moner. She also noted that he touched his shoulder with his 

hand repeatedly even as a cow blows away a fly with her tail. 


Adventure and Romance 

The dancer inferred that this was because of the habit of recei¬ 
ving a betel from behind as was customary with princes. She 

asked somebody to offer the stranger a betel from behind which 
done confirmed her surmise. 

He was persuaded to go to the house of Kamla, the dancer, 
who received him with exceeding hospitality The king accep¬ 
ts d her hospitality, but when she presented her person to him 
cs a token of her love he recited a verse which means “What 
does a man of determination whose ambition for conquest is 
not satisfied care about women. Until he has overrun the en- 
tue world the sun does not make love to Sandhya, the lady of 
the Twilight . Thus it dawned upon Kamla that the hero 
who had enthralled her heart was some great man indeed. 

Jayapida stayed at the house of Kamla for a few days. In 
the course of his stay he learnt that the city had been terror- 
stricken by a fierce man-eater who had taken a heavy toll of 
men and animals. Even such a beast as the elephant was abso¬ 
lutely at the mercy of the lion. Jayanta, the chief of the prin 
cipality, had made many efforts to trap the animal or to have it 
killed, but all to no purpose. Even well-known warriors and 
princes threw up their hands in despair : they had never known 
a beast as strong and ferocious. Reports of the depredations 
of the beast were submitted to Jayanta every day and he felt 
sad that he was not able to grant protection to the subjects 
against this menace. 

When Jayapida heard of the panic created by the beast he 
stole away the next evening from Kamla’s house to encounter 
it. Taking cover behind a tree till the beast appeared he made 
a dash towards the lion and succeeded in killing it. His own 
forearm was injured in the encounter. 

The joyful tidings of the death of the man-eater spr* ad 
next morning like wild-fire. It was welcome to every citizen 
but most of all to Jayanta, the ruler of the domain. He felt 
that at last somebody had done what it was his duty to accom¬ 
plish, In his excitement he decided to satisfy himself that the 


Tales from fhc Rajaiara'tgini 

lion was really dead and proceeded to the spot He was sur 
prised at the prowess of the hero who had killed the lion with 
just one deep thrust of his dagger, for the body of the man-ea¬ 
ter bore no other mark. When the corpse was examined mi¬ 
nutely and turned about, a golden armlet was found in its 
mouth. Engraved on the golden ornament were the words 
* His Majesty King Jayapida. 

Who had killed the tiger was now clear to Jayanta. He 
had obviously done it by thrusting his elbow into the mouth 
and throat of the beast and then probed into his heart with his 
dagger. He was amazed to learn that the king had come all 
the distance from Kashmir without his being aware of it. 
Jayanta did not look to what had happened to one of the Guada 
princes in Kasf mir, nor did he suspect the motives of Jayapida. 
On the other hand he decided to accord welcome to the hero 
publicly and reprimanded his nobles thus: ‘ At a time of re¬ 
joicing why do you, O fools, let fear shake your hearts ?" 

Soon after this the messengers brought reports to the king 
that Jayapida was staying at the house ot Kamla. Jayanta pro 
ceeded there along with the royal ladies and his courtiers. 
Jayapida was persuaded to accept the hospitality of Jayanta. 
The latter had no son and only one daughter whom he offered 
to the king of Kashmir. On his part Jayapida overcame seve¬ 
ral princes and made his father-in-law their overlord. He 
made further conquests before he reached his capital with Kal- 
yanidevi, the daughter of Jayanta of Gauda, and Kamla, the 
former dancer. His wife’s brother, Jijja, whom he had left in 
charge of the administration resisted his entry and Jayapi a 
had to wrest his throne. A battle took place at the village o 
Suskaletra, modem Hokhalitr. The villagers and woodsmen 
rallied round Jayapida but nothing decisive happened, 
last a candala named Srideva hit Jijja with a stone shot a 
sling as the latter was taking water from a golden vessel. jUJ 8 
was killed and Jayapida occupied his throne. 


A King Breaks his Word 

Ja^ APIDA’S attention was once drawn by a petitioner, an old 
man, who sought his protection against a powerful and inexo* 
rable enemy. “Sire/* said the petitioner, “if you grant me 
the protection I implore, I shall endeavour to render service as 
no one else can.” The king asked him what anxiety was eating 
his heart and the old man began his tale of woe. 

He told the king that he was none other than the Mahapa- 
dam Nag. Though a serpent living under water he was able 
to assume any form at will. He lived with his family under 
water in the Mahapadamsar which is at present known as the 
Wular Lake. The king of the serpents dreaded a sorcerer who 
had threatened to dry up the lake. The sorcerer had come 
from the far-off Mar war, a region notorious for its waterless 
tracts and sands. His mission was to dry up the mighty lake 
with the black art, capture the serpent king and carry it off to 
the dry wastes of Marwar in the hope that the parched land 
over there would quicken with water that the Nag was bound 
to draw for himself from the unknown depths of the earth. 
The serpent told the king that he lived in the lake with his 
mates and offspring and that he shuddered at the very thought 
of an outsider intruding upon the privacy of his domestic life 
even as a human being would. Being caught in the muddy 
bottom of the lake would put him to dishonour and humilia¬ 
tion and he had rather lose his life than suffer helplessly his 
mates being subjected to disrespect or insults. In return he 
promised the king that he would disclose to him a gold mine 
that would enrich the king and his offspring for centuries. 

The idea of the Nag suffering disrespect and humiliation at 
the hands of the sorcerer moved the king because it was a basic 


Tale* from the Rajatarangini 

reaction to the situation, particularly for the head of a f 
who was anxious to maintain the honour and dianitv^k ^ 
under his care. 1 he king and the Nag were both sovereigns 
and an inherent sympathy existed between them Apart fro 
that, however, the lure of a gold mine was placed before the 
king who needed money for his wars and his buildings. He 

gave the Nag the word that he would help him against the 

The next day the king had the sorcerer called to his pre¬ 
sence and put him questions. The latter corroborated the main 
facts as narrated by the Nag. With his mouth agape the king 
gazed at the mysterious sorcerer. “And do you have the 
skill to drain the entire lake ?” asked the king. “By your 
leave. Your Majesty, I can do so,” replied the other. His 
mind swelled with amazement and he thought that though a 
king he was no match for the master of the black art. He for¬ 
got the promise he had given to the Nag ; he forgot the gold 
mine ; and he did not remember that he had been touched by 
the feir of indignity and humiliation expressed by the Nag 
when he had assumed the human form. What aroused his 
curiosity was to see the sorcerer demonstrate his art practically. 

He asked the latter to give him a demonstration and the sor¬ 
cerer did so. 

He took the king to the lake and started his exercise in 
sorcery. Gradually the level in the lake fell till there was 
practically no water left. The king saw beautiful young ser¬ 
pents squirming on the oozy bottom of the lake, and then 
ere visible the Mahapadam Nag and his serpent-wives trying 
urrow deeper into the mud. They seemed to be in great dis¬ 
tresses they had been exposed. At this stage the king remem- 
ere the promise he had given to the Nag and ordered the 

fiil^ 61 ^* 0 c ^ arrn broke, the lake was once again 

e with water and the serpent brood took shelter behind 

their privacy. The sorcerer was bundled off to the land he 
had come from. 

A Kinff Breaks his Word 

That night the king had a dream and he demanded of the 
Nag the fulfilment of the promise to show him a gold mine. 
The Mahapadam Nag accused him of breaking the promise he 
had solemnly given and of putting him to great distress which 
was unbecoming to a king. The serpent, however, expressed 
his gratitude to the king for having ultimately driven away the 
sorcerer which had saved him from falling into his hands. He 
did not show him the mine of gold but gave him the clue to a 
copper mine. The king regretted the temptation to break his 
promise because it had turned his gold into copper. 


Jayapida and Devasarma 

One of the expeditions of Jayapida was planned against 
Aramuri, the prince of a mountain state in the Himalayas near 
Nepal. Aramuri was no coward and he apprised the king 
of Kashmir of his desire to give proper reception to anyone 
invading his state. So, Jayapida marched down with a huge 
army. Marching by day and halting by night he reached the 
borders of the Nepalese territory and was surprised to find 
no one to resist his advance into the little kingdom. Some¬ 
what elated, he continued his advance. This was exactly as 
Aramuri had planned. If he did not command reputation for 
valour as Jayapida did, if he did not boast of such an army 
as the Kashmirian king, he did not very much worry about it. 
He meant to make use of the vast war material with w’hich his 
billy country' was lavishly endowed and to utilize rock and boul¬ 
der, hill and ravine, forest and stream to resist the advance of 
the enemy and to break his strength. When he heard of 
the arrival of Jayapida with his host, he retired into the interior 
and thus created an impression of his apparent weakness. 

Jayapida could not resist the temptation and followed in 
the wake of the retreating enemy. Aramuri was clever enough 
not to give Jayapida a chance to encounter him. Unhindered 
advance made the invader somewhat complacent and put him 
off his guard; yet the Nepal king never approached him and 
the adventurer was more and more convinced of his ultimate 
victory. But at last Jayapida came to a hurdle in the form of 
a river and his rapid advance was checked. He camped by the 
bank of the river awaiting his chance to ford it. Because of 
his there-to-fore uninterrupted advance he was still flushed 
with vanity and forsook the exercise of vigilance and precaution. 


Jayapida and Devasarma 

Having been unable to ford the river so far he travelled alon 
its bank with a view to doing so. While thus on the march he 
got sight of the Napalese army across the river. 

He was so hungry for a glimpse of the enemy that when he 
caught sight of Aramuri’s army he felt like a cat kept away from 
its prey. Was it not his ambition to finish the Nepalese army? 
Had he not come all the way from Kashmir to tame his enemy 
and clip his claws ? How could he brook this river to baulk 
him thus ? Cross it he must So he sent parties to locate 
where they could ford the river and grapple with the enemy. 

They were not long in reporting. They had discovered a 
place where the river was only knee-deep Taking advantage 
of this Jayapida led his army into the water expecting that 
within a short time they would hurl themselves against the 
Nepalese. But fate ordained otherwise. While the invading 
army was in midstream, a flood surged down and confronted 
them almost before they were aware of it. They were veterans, 
most of them, and would have shown their mettle against any 
human foe. But here nature had made an onslaught. The 
charger and the elephant, the chariot and the warrior, all of 
them were carried away by the spate. Those few who strove 
for their lives could be counted on the finger tips and Jayapida 
was among them. Before he could pull himself ashore ano¬ 
ther foe much more relentless than the flood confronted him. 
Nepalese warriors appeared on the scene floating on water¬ 
skins and captured him when there was not a soul by his side 
to offer resistance to the enemy. 

The tables were thus completely turned on the king. It 
now dawned upon him that he had not displayed sufficient 
foresight in planning and executing the invasion and he 
realized that the scarcity of water in the river and the subse¬ 
quent innundation were pre-planned by the enemy with the help 
of a diversion channel. But being wise after the event was of 
little avail to him in his present calamity. Everything is fair 
in war and Aramuri would be well within his rights if he had 


killed him. He. however. P«* Jaya pida was confined 

10 a mom humming P^n wa8hed by the Kalgand.ka 

•o a castle on a lofty mnontam »P ui completely cut 

and s guard — ■* Thim from any quarter. The sentinels 

ofl from aid reaching him from y q cap ,ive even 

„„ „ «.W had H »*■ 

Javapida had to negotiate the P J {d hims elf out of 

the enemy » reach- T Greater than 

to the captive king that he cave up all hope his 

, hc loss of his kingdom to h.m was the bl ° W § mere hound . 

Z,,. Ha fci. c»h.d a .. ’Lar^bdity 

Disgrace had crowned his head and th rage 

Of his retrieving his honour. Consequently he 

and was consumed with humiliation. himself 

The unenviable predicament in which Jayapida found ^ 
pulled him to the depths of despair as 

ted the pinnacle of excited complacency f and 

and he wished death would relieve him ot his g 
humiliation. Alternatively he had a vague ee '" g 
might yet be rescued out of the prison as he had Piously 
managed to escape with the help of such a flimsy t mg - 
vajravrakhsha. But the chances this time were very remote 
and he was convinced that his predicament was the beginning 
of his end. Though Jayapida had obviously lost all hope in 
his extremely difficult situation, nature was unwilling to vt 
him rot there. 

Jayapida was especially fortunate in having a wise, brave 
and devoted minister who controlled the affairs of the state 
very ably in the absence of his master abroad. Devasarma s 
father Mitrasarma had been the trusted minister ot the great 
Lalitaditya and in the service of his master Devasarma followed 
the footsteps of his own renowned father. He lived in an age 
when relations of kings, ministers or feudal lords would snatch 
every opportunity to seize the kingdom, and another man 


Jayapida and Devasarma 

would have welcomed the captivity of Jayapida and ascended 
the throne himself. Far from that, Devasarma was planning 
how to rescue the king out of the prison, and to rescue him 
even at the ccst of his own life. 

Everything is fair in war and Devasarma tried his own wea¬ 
pons. He wrote a flattering letter to Aramuri, expressing his 
great pleasure at the disaster that had befallen the Kashmiri army 
and jubilating at the captivity of Jayapida. He offered to es¬ 
tablish the sway of Aramuri in Kashmir and to give him the 
whole wealth of the kingdom. Many a minister of the time 
actually did what Devasarma offered to do and Aramuri was 
taken in bv the sweet-worded letter of the minister. The Ne¬ 
palese king called him to his presence. This was exactly as 
Devasarma had planned and he left for Nepal with a Kashmir 
army in considerable strength. On reaching the kingdom of 
Aramuri Devasarma went to the capital with but a few men, 
leaving his soldiers disguised as peasants and pilgrims, near 
the banks of the Kalgandika. 

When Devasarma’s arrival was announced to the king, he 
felt highly pleased and accorded him a warm welcome. He 
had overcome the king of Kashmir but, Kashmir being far 
away, it brought little gain to him except that his vanity was 
satisfied. Through the intervention of Devasarma he now hoped 
to secure the wealth and the kingdom of Kashmir, which his 
armed might had failed to get him. What could give him 
greater pleasure ? On the first day the king received him in 
his court and after the preliminary and formal reception dis¬ 
missed him as he was feeling weary. The discussion of the 
main business was therefore postponed. 

The next day Aramuri and his gu-st retired to a private 
apartment to settle their affairs. Devasarma told the king 
that Jayapida had an immense treasure hidden somewhere and 
that the secret was known only to Jayapida himself and to the 
army. He gave the king to understand that it was impossible 
to get the secret of the treasure from the army officers to whom 


Talei jrom the Raj alar an girt 

Jayapida had entrusted it. The only other court* left open fir 
thrm was tn induce Jayapida himaelf to reveal the aecret 

Devasarma wught Aramjri ’a permission to see Jayapida in 
his confinement and to make an offer of his release to him on 
the condition that he revealed where his treasure was hidden. 
Aramuri readily agreed. The minister had won the confidence 
of the Nepalese king to such an extent that he waa permitted 
to visit his master alone The next day he went to the castle 
on the bluff of the rock to pay his respects to his master Jaya- 
pida. This meeting under strange circumstances brought tears 
to the eyes of both. The king recalled his glory and grieved 
that he had fallen not in the field of battle but because of a 
trick unexpected by him. The minister was sad too, for he 
found his sovereign in a miserable plight, sad, dejected and 
demoralised, languishing further and further into despair 
everyday. For long he had been awaiting this opportunity 
and now he felt there could be no more hindrances in the way 
of his master gaining liberty unless he himself created some, 
for the sudden and unexpected reverse in his fortune had rude¬ 
ly shaken Jayapida. 

The first task of Devasarma was, therefore, to restore 
courage and confidence to Jayapida, for unless the captive chief 
rose fully to the occasion, no one could possibly help him. 
Devasarma assured his master that there was a good change 
for him to effect his escape from the prison. Jayapida consi¬ 
dered it almost an impossibility and expressed his scepticism. 
The minister reiterated his assurance saying, “You may succeed 
if your courage fails thee not.” Jayapida could not conjure up 
the possibility of overpowering his guards and expressed bis 
doubt. “I am all alone and entirely unarmed. How can I 
break through the iron ring of armed guards?” “The Maharaja 
need not worry himself on that account, for if his spirit be not 
lost, he can jump into the river and cross to safety,” replied 
the minister. He told Jayapida that if he could do this much, 
he would find his army awaiting his commands just across the 
river which rendered this castle impregnable. Jayapida felt 


Jayapida and Dtvasarma 

allured by <he prospect of meeting his troops ju«t across the 
riv< rand his drooping spirits buoyed up. Fora moment he 
let his fancy mam: he would meet his army, reorganize it, profit 
by his previous mistake and sweep upon Aramuri's kingdom in 
a new invasion. Only such a development would slake the 
vegeance burning in his heart ; only thus would he retrieve his 
pride, re-establish his prestige, regain his honour and face the 
world again. 

There, however, was a big leeway to be covered : how to 
cross the river ? So he posed this question to his trusted 
councillor : “But how can I cross the river, for I have no 
leather bag with which I could trust myself ?” Devasarma 
promised to supply him one. Jayapida who was thinking in 
terms of retrieving his pride and wreaking vengeance expressed 
his doubt if the leather bag would be strong enough. *‘A weak 
one will burst and I shall he recaptured. In that case my 
humiliation will be intolerable,” he added. Devasarma once 
again stirred his spirit and assured him of a strong leather bag. 
Jayapida felt that all that he needed was a leather bag and his 
dreams would be completed. “When would it be possible for 
you to smuggle through your bag ?“ asked the captive. “Wait 
for two dhandas ,” replied the minister advising the king to 
go to a different apartment during the interval. 

Jayapida was still under the impression that his former 
minister Devasarma would be able to smuggle in a leather bag 
by bribing the guards He was therefore grateful to him and 
thought of recompensing him fully when he got back to his 
capital He quietly waited for two dhandas and when he re¬ 
entered the apartment he was met with a most unexpected sight. 
He rubbed his eyes before he could believe them. Davasarma, 
his minister, who had come all along from Kashmir to redeem 
his master from the captivity of the Nepalese prince had killed 
himself with a piece of cloth tied round his neck. It was most 
•hocking that the minister who had been planning the release of 
his master should have committed suicide at the moment when 
his help was needed most. Jayapida was astounded and disap- 


Ta'ei frfl-n thr Rnjataran^rtt 

pointed. But before he could audibly gj Ve 
frrlinp* hi* attention was drawn to a f ew * Pre **»on to 
garment of the deceased 1 here, written in bl!^ marl( « on J* 
to the whole riddle. The writing ran, “| arn ? f * * as th e y e 
body is atuffed with air and will make an excell^ to ^ a V- \J y 
for your uae. For your convenience I have tied ^ ^ at ^ er 
my thigh*. Thia will enable you to thrust i n 3 Cl ° tl) r %nd 
prevent the bag slipping away I shall feel fully^ ^ a «d 
for this act of love if you successfully make good yoT^ 

Jiyapid* was deeply touched by this act of satrjfi " Cap,! ”• 
part of his minister who had risen to greater heights 7 ^ the 
his own father Mitrasarma, the minister of Lalitad't ^ Cven 
pida. He never expected that anybody would go 8 of ^ ta * 
act of devotion. Had he known the plan of action! 7 * his 
irrevocable step had been taken, he might not have * the 
the execution of th-s plot fatal to Devasarma whose^^ 10 
and advice he valued above everything. Now that tb SUPPort 
had already sacrificed his life for a noble object in the^*** 
his master, it became all the more important for Jaya ‘!7°^ 
play his part cautiously and carefully so that the self im 7 * *° 
of Devasarma should not be in vain. Elation 

Assuring himself that the guards were off the scent he mad 
use of the body in plunging into the river and, before the 
authorities were even fully aware of what had happened he 
managed to gain the other bank of the river. His army which 
was concealed in the forests rushed to greet him as soon as they 
came to know of his arrival. Already remorseful for the mis- 
fortune their king had suffered, these soldiers were greatlv 
inspired to fight valiantly when they saw Jayapida’s ‘water 
ag, and learnt of the heroic sacrifice Davasarma had made for 
is master. Jayapida was panting for revenge ; he invaded the 
mgdom of Aramuri and destroyed his power. 


Jayapida Persecutes Brahmins 


The reign of Jayapida (A. D. 746-81) was eventful to the high¬ 
est degree. He led many expeditions in pursuit of adventure 
and conquest, and vastly added to his reputation as a conquerer. 
He founded new cities, built palaces and temples, dug canals 
and set up a strong administration. Truly had his grandfather 
predicted a great future for him. The king respected Brahmins 
and men of learning who adorned his court like a galaxy. 
In fact some of them came from distant places to enjoy the 
bliss of his patronage. 

Towards the close of his reign, however, the king did all 
he could to tease and harass his Brahmin subjects. He impo¬ 
sed heavy taxes on them and hated them. What was responsi¬ 
ble for this sudden change in the policy of the king ? 

On his return from one of his expeditions Jayapida did not 
find his favourite queen who was a paragon of beauty. He was 
told that the queen had died a sudden death. The king was 
stricken with grief but being helpless sought diversion in the 
affairs of state. It was his practice to leave the palace in dis¬ 
guise and see for himself how the people fared under his rule. 
One night, while he was on one such round, he observed a 
concourse of people standing in front of a goldsmith’s shop 
listening to a tale, told in doggerel verse in the vulgar tongue, 
about the love of a Brahmin youth with the queen who was 
dead. The people laughed and whistled and clapped their 
hands as the tale of love was unravelled. The king joined the 
bystanders and learnt all the details of the unfortunate death 

of his queen. 

He learnt that on one occasion while the queen was on a 
visit to a temple her beauty and grace deeply wounded the 


f tnm f ^ r Riin*****&*' 

he*rt of * younc Brahmin. Thi* silly 1*^ 
that hr began to languish and thr physicians lost all h ^ '***? 
living tm1«» hi* craving wm satisfied ; and yet how cr*,|d 
be? Onr dav the mother of the lad entreated the queen fa** 
boon to *ave her only son from certain death. When the q ,J ? * 
(depressed willingness to save the lad for the Rake of his afflict^ 
mother, the latter lold her what the lad was sick of and what 
could cure him. The queen was astounded but could do no¬ 
thing as she had rashly given her word to a distressed Brahmin 
woman. She sought the advice of her preceptor if anything 
could expiate a grave sin incurred in saving a man from cer¬ 
tain death and was told that distribution of largess was the 
remedy. The queen sent word to the Brahmin lady and the 
lad was one night admitted to her chamber secretly. He was 
beside himself with joy on the attainment of the well-nigh 
impossible object on which he had set his silly heart. 

The next morning the queen took the preceptor into con¬ 
fidence and confessed her sin. He shook his head gravely and 
declared that earlier she had not even remotely hinted at infi¬ 
delity which was so great a sin that expiation could be made 
for it only if the queen immolated herself on a burning pyre. 
The queen did so. The narrator of the tale invested the narra¬ 
tion with a satire and humour which cut the king to the quick. 

Jayapida returned to his palace. The next morning he sent 
for the narrator of the tale, the goldsmith and the others, and 
had all the details corroborated. The Brahmin lad, the pre¬ 
ceptor and many other Brahmins including courtiers, noble¬ 
men, officials, astrologers, and scholars were put to the sword. 
He had their books and manuscripts consigned to the waves. 
Officials were encouraged to devise new ways of persecuting 
Brahmins and, in fact, of exterminating them. He imposed 
fines on his subjects and Shibdasa, the head of the finance de¬ 
partment, endeared himself to the king by devising new taxes 
on the subjects. This vindictiveness grew on what it fed on. 
For three years the officials seized the harvest together with 
the cultivators’ share. Thousands were deprived of life, for 


Jayapida Persecutes Brahmins 

the king called for a report if on any day less than a hundred 
Brahmins were put to death. 

On their own part the Brahmins faced the persecution with 
exemplary conduct. Many of them died and some fled the 
country, hut tyranny emboldened the others to put up resis¬ 
tance. The gifted poets amongst them reversed their eulogies 
and wrote satires. One day while he was encamped on the 
bank of the Chandrabhaga (i. e., the Sindh) he ordered the 
resumption of the lands attached to the sacred shrine of Tula- 
mula. Ninety nine Brahmins were also drowned in the river 
nearby but that did not satiate the vindictive frenzy of the 
king. Soon after the Brahmins from the village of Tulamula 
approached him to protest against the king s chamberlain who 
had insultingly struck them in accordance with the instructions 
of the king. 

“Sire !” they added, “Brahmins have not experienced in«* 
suits to their honour even from such exalted beings as Manu, 
Mandhatr and Rama of the illustrious Raghu clan. To insult 
a Brahmin is to play with fire, for when inflamed with anger 
he is able to burn down in a moment the paradise with Indra”. 
In his arrogance the king pooh-poohed the Brahmins saying, 
“How impudent on the part of the beggars living on almsgrain 
to talk so big as if you were rishis 1” 

The leader of the Brahmins was one Ittila who made bold 
to say, “In the age which tolerates you as a ruler why are we 
not rishis. ,i 

The king laughed hilariously, *‘Ha, 1 ha ! are you then 
Visvamitra, Vasistha or perchance Agastya ?” Ittila was stung 
with the sarcastic hilarity of the king and overcome with anger 
hit back, “If you are Harischandra, Trishanku or perchance a 
Nahusa, then I am Visvamitra indeed”. 

The king was unmoved by all this rhetorical repartee and 
was by no means in a mood to have any sympathy with the 
tyrannised Brahmins. He addressed the victims in his arrogant, 
sarcastic hauteur, “If it is so,” he said, “wherefore this in- 


Tales from the Rajataraneini 

ordinate delay ? Let the punishment the Brahmins des‘ 
inflict fall immediately • ” “There it falls, you miscre^ ^ 
rejoined Ittila, stamping his foot significantly. nt ’ 

The moment he uttered this curse, one of the golden 
supporting the canopy which stretched over them slipped and^* 
the vain king He fell into a swoon. When he came to he saw ** 
deep wound on his body caused by the pole. The wound would 
not heal for all the treatment it received. It turned into 
running sore and nursed worms which had to be removed with 

Jayapida saw the lowest depth of pain, misery and helples . 
ness till in the fullness of time death came to his rescue 
According to Birbal Kachru’s unpublisheld Twarikhi Kashmir 
prolonged agony at last humbled the king’s arrogance. He 
sent for the aggrieved Brahmin Ittila and appealed to his mercy 
in ali humility for instantaneous death or relief. He took an oath 
that he would not be the cause of trouble to anyone else. 
Ittila took pity on him. Burning his grass sandal he put a 
little of the ash on the sore and prayed to God for the king in 
agony. The sore was cured. The king sent his servants round 
to Brahmins requesting forgiveness. Itilla was installed in the 
royal palace with honour and Jayapida kept the promise not to 
trouble Brahmins. 


An Engineer is Discovered 

1 HE dynasty of the illustrious Lalitaditya, descendants of the 
divorced wife of the merchant of Rohtak, failed in the course of 
tmie to produce a ruler strong enough to hold the land toge¬ 
ther. The feudal lords raised their head and at last in A. D. 
855 Suravarman, the prime minister, placed on the throne a 
young man named Avantivarman. Avantivarman did not belong 
to the royal family. His grandfather Utpala had gained 
favour at the court through his sister Jayadevi, a courtesan 
married to Laiitapida, Jayapida’s son, and his great grand¬ 
father had been a spirit-distiller ; but the minister found some 
promise in Avantivarman and exalted him to kingship. 

Avantivarman was a good and strong ruler. He suppressed 
rebels and anti-social elements, and respected scholars and lear¬ 
ned men. Kailata Bhata, the well-known exponent of Shaivism, 
Ratnakar, the predecessor of Kalhana who wrote the history of 
Kashmir from the earliest times down to his own day, Shiva- 
swamin, poet, Ramata, an authority on grammar, Anandvar- 
dhan, poet and rhetorician who gave us Dhavanyaloka, all 
enjoyed the patronage of the king. They proceeded to the 
Sabha of the king in Vehicles (litters) worthy of kings’. He 
founded Avantipora and built there the temples dedicated to 
Avantishvara and Avantisvamin, the ruins of which are seen 
to this day by everyone travelling by road to Srinagar. 

During his reign the country' suffered a terrible visitation. 
One night a mighty earthquake occurred, and a hill below 
Baramulla crumbled into the narrow bed of the Jhelum below 
and blockaded the river. The people, however, came to 
attribute the landslide to a mighty demon and fled far away 
from that direction lest any evil befall them. 


Tales from the Rajatarangini 

The real demon was, however, alive and active, workin 
every’ minute to the detriment of the whole country. I t 
the Jhclum which finding its course impeded, turned its bed 
into a lake. The water rose higher and higher, the river sprang 
out of its bed and made inroads on the areas in its vicinity 
Every hour the river extended its empire till a vast lake was 
formed. What were fields flourishing with paddy became a 
part of the bed of this vast lake or formed its backwaters. 
Cultivable land shrank and the produce dwindled. Famine 
began to stalk the country and a kharwar of paddy was sold 
for 1050 dinnars. People began to die of starvation 

The king was greatly distressed. He wanted to do some¬ 
thing for the people but did not know what would save the 
situation. Everybody dreaded the 'demon inside the river who 
had caused the blockade* and none was prepared to risk 'certain 
death* by approaching the site How could the king save his 
people ? 

At last he received tidings that a certain wise man named 
Suyya was willing to place his services at the disposal of the 
king to fight the famine caused by the accumulation of water. 
It came to the king like a ray of light in a dark dense forest 
and he wanted to meet the man and discuss the problem with 
him. His courtiers advised him against it, for Suyya was 
known as a chandala and what would anyone expect of one 
belonging to that caste ? Suyya was actually a foundling 
picked and brought up by a chandala woman. She had very 
much been struck by the appearance of the infant whom she 
found sucking his thumb when she first saw it* He grew up 
to be precocious, surprised every one with his intelligence and 
came to be called after his mother. 

In spite of his ministers, however, the king sought the help 
U ‘ y J a an< ^ acce pted both his conditions, viz., gave him pot- 
fu 8 ° f g0ld and allowed him a free hand. 

t i C ° Urse ’ Su yy a did not share with the ignorant the belief 
xistence of the demon and his first aim was to drivt 


An Enginter i, Di»cowrr«d 

oway the water-wraith from it, ab ode i„ , K k 
People. He go* it proclaimed that he hearta of th * 

full* of gold coin, into the Hve r , " f '" 8 10 ^ P 0 *- 

coin could keep it. The courtier, at *" 7 ° V ' Wh ° recovered » 
to the king pointing out how the c 

the precious metal when the out *° WMt « 

on account of the acarcity of food* But the k' ‘ m f° Veri * hed 

dcnce in the ability of Suyya and he Daid k j”* COn ^' 
l ain , yy and he P ald no heed to this comp- 

had°" thc f appoi " ted da y Su yy» found that hundreds of people 
had come far and near to see him drop the gold coin. 

into the river. This place near Khadanyar was called Yakodar 
or t ecet of the demon. It was a spur projecting into the 
river bed nearly three miles below the Baramulla gorge. Rocks 
and boulders rolled down the hill and obstructed the river. He 
placed himself in a boat which waa punted to a place near the 
blockade and, repeating his promise that whoever got a coin 
from under water could keep it, he emptied the contents of a 
pot into the river. Some people were amazed at the futility of his 
efforts, others thought that he was mad while many more 
wished he had given them the gold instead of dropping it into 
water. Such people had grown sick of life on account of the 
scarcity of food and the exorbitant prices they were called upon 
to pay. Finding bright gold coins disappearing in the river 
the people were filled with a craving for them. Some of them 
thought of plunging into water to reach out for them irrespec¬ 
tive of what might befall. A few of the bolder spirits actually 
dived into the river after the coins, demon or no demon. The 
bystanders watched their fate with bated breath. They expec¬ 
ted the divers to form a delicious morsel for the demon but no 
such activity appeared anywhere. The people were astounded 
when the divers returned to the surface, each of them with 
bright coins. In doing so they threw up stones, mud and sand 
and the bed of the river was deepened. The spot came to 
be known as Dyaragol or the entrance ot wealth. 


Tales from the Rajatarangini 

This was the first indication of the success of the plan of 
Suyya. He had more gold coins dropped into the river with 
the result that people literally left no stone unturned in reco¬ 
vering them from beneath the water. Having thus exorcised 
the hobgoblin of fear from the hearts of the people, Suyya was 
sure to enlist their participation in the task of clearing the 
obstruction in the course of the river. That was accomplished 
without any hindrance. A stone dam was built above Dyaragol 
and the dried-up bed below cleared of all obstruction and deep¬ 
ened for seven days. The dam was then removed. The 
channel of the Jhelum being thus clear, water was drained out 
and the artificial lake from Bejbehara to Baramulla disappeared 
in a few days. He had dropped a potful of money in an 
unfathomable depth of water at Nandaka near Bijbehara and 
recovered it from dry land when the village of the same name 
emerged from the flood. The adjoining land was reclaimed and 
the alluvial soil raised a bumper harvest. Embankments granted 
further protection to cultivable land. He caused the Sindh to 
meet the Jhelum at Shardapur, modern Shadipur, and raised 
training embankments for it for seven yojanas till it fell into 
the Wular and thence to Baramulla till it entered the adaman¬ 
tine mountain walls. The price of rice fell to thirtysix din- 


Suyya was able to reclaim from under water a vast area in 
the vicinity of the Wular. Because of the fertility of the soil 
it attracted many a settler and grew into a populous village. 
It came to be called Suyyapur after the illustrious engineer and 
has been shortened into Sopore. Thus did his countrymen 
express their appreciation of the efforts made for their well¬ 
being by Suyya, the son of a sweeper woman. 


1 he Death of Shankarvarman 

Jahangir, the great Mughal, was very fond of Kashmir and 
visited the valley as many as eight times during his compara¬ 
tively short reign lasting twenty two years. He actually died 
in Kashmir at Verinag. The news of his death was kept a 
confidential secret for reasons of state and, under the orders 
<>f Noor Jahan, the dead body was invested in all the royal 
accoutrements and carried south in camouflage as if the king 
himself enjoyed health and authority. The royal cavalcade of 
elephants and palanquins, ponies and mules, footmen and porters 
made its way along the Mughal road in the western moun¬ 
tainous ramparts of the valley. By the time Chingas on the 
southern slope of the Peer-Panchal was reached, the lifeless- 
body showed the effect of time. According to some authorties 
it was decided to relieve it of the tissues which are more 
susceptible to decomposition. The emperor’s body was, there¬ 
fore, subjected to the surgeon’s knife and the decayed tissues 
were buried at Chingas. All this was done in secret and the 
secrecy was maintained till the party reached the Punjab. By 
this time the emperor’s death could no longer be kept veiled 
and the remains of Jahangir were finally buried in Lahore. 

Nearly 700 years before Jahangir, Kashmir was ruled by a 
king named Shankervarman (A. D. 883-902). He was quite a 
conrast to his father Avantivarman whose name is associated 
with the town and the temples of Avantipora. Shanker proved 
to be a thoroughly bad king, spent all his time in military 
engagements or venal activities and did little for the welfare of 
his subjects. His companions were vile, and his advisers un- 
scruplous. The king adopted every means to despoil the land 
of its riches. 


TdUr5 from the Knjnta^angini 

He robbed the city of Laliudityi at Parihawpura of a U ^ 
riche* and employed them to build temples in the town found- 
rd by him, viz., Shank arpattan. He resumed the lands granted 
to temples- He took from the shrines the sale proceeds of 
incense, sandal, oil and the like, and plundered no less than 
sixty * four temples. He practised fraud on his subjects by 
reducing the weights in the scales by a third and ostentatiously 
increased the annual grants to priests and others. He thus 
resorted to the trick of inflation. He also imposed on the vil¬ 
lagers the system of the carriage of loads known in the verna¬ 
cular as begar. The people were so disgusted with him that 
after his death his name was dropped from the name of the 
town founded by him. People who live in Pattan, seventeen 
miles from Srinagar on the way to Baramulla, have no idea 
that it was originally known as Shankar-Pattan. “In the case 
of who else”, says the historian, “has the name disappeared 
as in that of Shankarvarman”. 

The king showed considerable aptitude as a fighter and in 
his younger days he reduced to subjection many rulers all 
round his frontiers. Towards the end of his life he was pro¬ 
voked to lead a punitive-cum-aggressive march. The com¬ 
mander of his frontier guards was killed at * Viranaka at the 
entrance to his territory. The king was infuriated and razed 
Viranaka to the ground. Next he marched north to the region 
of the Indus to punish the tribal chieftains whom he suspected 
of fomenting disloyalty amongst his liegemen. The ch ieftains 
were overawed and made obeisance, and the king started on 
his return journey. At a place called Urusa a sudden quarrel 
developed between the people and his soldiers. The soldiers 
were no doubt flushed with the success of their expedition and 
the people, on the other hand, resented their intrusion. In the 
melee one of the inhabitants aimed an arrow from the crest of 

• Viranaka is a village, opposite to Buliyasu, on the Jhclum, a 
short distance below Baramulla. 

Urosa: practically the same as the modern district of Hazara. 



The Death of ShdnkaYvdfman 

the h.ll which pierced the neck of the king. Realising the 
fetal nature of the injury and the hostile environment the king 
directed hi. minister to lead the army to safety out of the 
narrow ^rges and deep defiles. The injury cost the king his 
sight and he failed to sec his queen Sugandha who accompanied 

him on the expedition. He only heard her wailing. Soon after 

the barb was taken out of the king’s neck he breathed his last. 

This was not the first time for the mountain defiles of the 
north to exact their heavy toll from the valley of Kashmir in the 
form of the life of the sovereign. Nearly two hundred years 
earlier the mighty Lai itaditya had been lost along with his 
army in the mountainous wastes of the north. On the present 
occasion the ministers acted wisely in order to save the army 
from annihilation at the hands of the sharp shooters of the hills 
and they kept the accident a closely-guarded secret from every 
one. The morale of the army was, therefore, not affected. The 
security of the non-combatants on the march and the country 
as a whole was thus assured. 

Every day the ministers propagated concocted stories about 
the king’s deeds from hour to hour which continued the illusion 
in the minds of the people that the king was alive. 

His body was dressed up in the regal attire and a system 
of ropes was mechanically contrived and delicately manipula- 
ted so that movement of several limbs of the king became 
possible. The dead body was thus made to acknowledge 
the salutes and greetings of the feudatories with the move¬ 
ments of the head or the hands. The queen and the ministers 
maintained a composure and solemnity as if nothing extraor¬ 
dinary had taken place. 

This mime was continued while the army was on its march 
for six days through petty states unfriendly to Kashmir. Having 
emerged from the hostile mountainous glens into the territory 
firmly under the Kashmir administration, the grief-stricken 
but tactful queen and the trusted ministers no longer deemed 


Tales from the Rajatarangini 

it neee«ary to deny the mortal remains of the king the long 
deaerved rest. When they reached Bolyasaka, (modem 
Bolyasu), the corpse was consigned to the flames. Six living 
persona including three queens, two servants and Jayasimha, 
a man of virtue, died with him on the funeral pyre. 


•'!»« Brahmin’s Meet a King 

dynnaly founded by Av.n.lvarman did not produce .no- 
' *»n >y king. 11„. Miccraaora of the illuatrioua fender of 
<C dynaaty were- wicked or aelfiah, weak or perverted For 
<h.H re,.on none of them could give the country a table ad- 
minixt ration with peace and pro.perity ; inatead, the people 
. ame to aulTer a Rood deal. A liRnificant development that took 
place m the country durinR theae decade, waa that .cveral claat 
ea. ike the Tantrina and the likiingax, grew exceedingly atrong 
and many a king waa compelled to seek their aupport to main¬ 
tain himself on the throne against feudal barons or Damaraa 
and tributary chiefs. These several parties were, therefore, 
always on the lookout for a chance to overawe the king or to 
win over an influential queen. They exacted bribes from kings, 
and revolts and counter-revolts were frequent. 

The last ruler of this dynasty was one Unmatavanti. To 
tfivc an example of his depravity he ‘ripped open the abdomen 
of pregnant women in order to see the foetus’. On account of 
his perverted nature he has contributed a word to the Kashmiri 
language, viz., vonmat, originally unmath , which is used for 
a person of perverse predilections. Little wonder that he died 
of tuberculosis. Before his death he enthroned his son Sura- 
varman who was but a child- 

Suravarnmn was not a blue-blooded prince. He had been 
imported into the palace by one of the queens and foisted on 
the king as his own offspring. The latter did not suspect the 
spurious pretentions of the child, but some of the courtiers con¬ 
sidered it an insult to offei allegiance to the would-be successor. 
The king was especially at enmity with the cammander-in- 
chief of the army, Kamalavardhana. Taking advantage of his 


I .iIm fum the K^iifiifd'ixini 

«Mtf«ue*"cnt m HUpproMing tho Dnmaras in Madavarajya, the 
\\w\r\\ entrusted the protection of the boy to the Tantrins 
and the l kangas who weic rewarded lavishly. 

The commando*-in-chiof was soon apprised of these deve¬ 
lopment* in thr capital to which he rushed post-haste from the 
southern district, lie broke through the rings thrown round 
thr city and thr palace by the supporters of the ruling house 
and entered the palace to find that the boy-king and his mother 
had taken to th *ir h'els. Kamalavardhana was the master of 
the situation but failed to harvest the advantage. He did not 
seize the throne for himself immediately but, perhaps troubled 
by sn uneasy conscience, wanted to seek a measure of public 
support and be elected king by the council of Brahmins in 
accordance with the practice of the day in such circumstances. 

The next day he called the Brahmins to a meeting and ex¬ 
plaining the situation called upon them to choose a new king 
for the country He threw a clear hint about their choice 
when he said, “Make some one who is grown up, capable and 
bom in our own country the King M In his heart of hearts he 
had no doubt that the choice of the Brahmins would fall upon 
him on account of his ability no less than because the power 
was in his hands. 

It was a simple matter so far as Kamalavardhana was con¬ 
cerned. All that the Brahmins had to do, he thought, was 
to name him with one accord and he would abide by their 
unanimous choice in the interests of the people. But once he 
had called the council of Brahmins the initiative had passed 
out of his hands and the Brahmins were not in a disposition 
to oblige the commander. Though obviously under pressure 
from different directions they were not to be hustled into arriv¬ 
ing at a decision. Different proposals were made, names dis¬ 
cussed threadbare and defeated in turn for want of sufficient 
support. Kamalavardhana had committed an irrevocable blun¬ 
der in depending upon his own self-esteem as a sufficient moti¬ 
vation for the council of Brahmins to vote for his election. 
The delay they made in arriving at a decision filled him with 


1 he Brahmins Elect a King 

throne somrone worthy'o*it'*B J** C ° UnCi ' '° nomina,e *> th « 

a I'fle finger in furthering his interest ^ 

Hay after day the Brahmins sat in conclave tk • . 

S ££=?£, r t00k thei ; —- 8 eatl h m TZ 

august assembly. D u aCT'^ PreSt ' ge behUin8 SUch an 
dispersed K i ,, r 1 ay ^ ey as,en >bled, discussed and 

under hfm ,,7"" fe “ the ground slipping from 

ted to resort' t h 9388386 of every day - even then he hesita- 

resort t0 [ orce or inducements. A man of the a,my, he 

J C , eVery , thmg ° n the outcome of the constitutional 
procedure he had adopted voluntarily. 

\e or six days passed thus and ths Brahmins were no- 

W erC near unqnimit V or even a majority decision in the matter 
concerning the state so vitally. During this period many cur- 

rents and crosscurrents were set up in the ocean that was politics 
in Kashmir those days. There could be no lack of ambitious 
people aspiring for the throne. They tried to influence the 
council of Brahmins. Representatives of Brahmin parisads 
(associations) and deputations from various parts of the country 
attended upon with drums, cymbals and music, approached the 
council to canvas support for different aspirants. One of them 
was the dowager queen of Unmattavanti She and her son. 
the enthroned minor of a day, had not been able to withstand 
the forces of Kamalavardhana. She made another attempt to 
regain the coveted throne with the help of what was the suicide 

squad of a weaponless task force, viz., hunger*strikers. In those 
hoary times people succeeded in obtaining justice sometimes 
by resorting to a hunger-strike when other methods failed. The 
hunger-strike was indeed a potent weapon in the hands of a 
Brahmin. The Brahmins of Parihasapura, a town built by 
Lalitaditya as his capital, were notorious in particular for pur¬ 
suing this non-violent harakiri to a successful conclusion. The 
queen, therefore, sent her emissaries to Parihasapura to induce 
the Brahmins to help her cause by undertaking a fast unto 


Tain from the R n ?<if at mi gini 

death before the Brahmin conclave appointed by KamaUv^r 

While the emia-taries of the queen were on their way to 
Parihasapura, destiny drove a man Yasaskara to crora their 
path. Yasaskara belonged to a family known for leiming and 
culture. One of his ancestors had started as a tutor for the 
children of a minister and had risen to be the keeper of the 
treasury. But for all his wisdom, learning and eloquence, 
Yasaskara failed to create an impression in the country, and 
reduced to destitution he bade good-bye to the land of his 
birth. The star of his fortune was in the ascendent now and 
auspicious dreams drove him back to his village Pisacakapura 
in Kashmir. The emissaries of the queen met him en route. 

They were delighted to cast their eyes on so wise and elo¬ 
quent a man as Yasaskara. They instantly changed their mind, 
gave up the pursuit of the hunger-strikers and engaged the 
learned man to espouse before the council of Brahmins the 
cause of the former queen and her little son. Destiny made 
Yasaskara to accept the brief and forthwith he proceeded to 
the capital to assail the ears and hearts of the council with the 
vigour of his advocacy. But he had no time to waste his breath. 
No sooner did the Brahmins sitting in conclave catch sight of 
him than they reached unanimity in their choice and their la¬ 
bours were brought to a happy conclusion. Their choice fell on 
no one other than Yasaskara himself. They raised their voice high 
and the assembly hall resounded with the words, “This is the 
only man who should be king’*. The man of humble origin 
who had been wandering from land to land in search of food 
and raiment was being approached to accept the sceptre and 
crown. Yasaskara felt dazed as the Brahmins besprinkled him 
with holy water, women chanted hymns in their honeyed voices 
and pages held the white parasol over his head. With down¬ 
cast eyes he acknowledged the benedictions of the populace as 
they watched his progress to the audience chamber. The 
saddest man that day was Kamalavardhana. 


A Daniel come to Judgement 

'i ASASKARA wa. elected kmg in 939 A.D. by the council of 

Brahmins called for the purpose by Kamalavardhana the 

commandcr-m-chicf who resisted the enthronement’ of a 

spurious heir. Himself a Brahmin, Yasaskara was aware of 

the influence that his caste could wield over him and dreaded 

the consequences of an unrestiicted access of his fellow men to 

him. He begged of the Brahmins not to seek audience with 

him on trivial occasions. “You have conferred the crown on 

us ; you are to be honoured by us like the Gods. Since you 

will be elated with pride that you have gifted away a kingdom 

you should not, except during hours of business, come near 

On one occasion the king had finished his day’s work and 
was about to take his meals when a petitioner arrived at his 
door to seek redress. Saying that the king had just concluded 
his day’s labour, the usher would not let him in but advised 
him to try his luck the next morning. The petitioner, a Brah¬ 
min, expressed his determination to stake his life at the door¬ 
step of the king for presenting his plaint. The king heard 
the words, halted the attendant and directed that the petitioner 
be asked to approach him. In the presence of the king the 
petitioner submitted that, having heard of the good govern¬ 
ment in his country, he had come back from wandering in 
other lands and had brought his savings which amounted to a 
hundred gold coins. The highways being free of robbers he 
trudged on without fear till he reached Lavanotsa* where he 

* Lavanotsa is supposed to have been a village between Bijbehara 
and Pampore. Srinagar Could be reached by a simple foroed 
march from Lavanotsa. 


‘/rtfri from til' K/i /it 

mi,tr « hill, lie tprnt the night tinder* tree in a garden 
w huh wan not f.11 from the road. Nearby waa a well no thickly 
c),mix'd over by creeper* that he did not at all notice it and in 
hu ignotanct the wallet containing the gold coin* and every¬ 
thing cite fell into the well. 

lb* was no overwhelmed with sorrow at this Iota of all hia 
belonging* that he determined to conclude hia lamentation with 
suicide. At this stage there appeared on the acene an energetic 
man who asked what all this lamentation w ig about. “If I 
recover the money for you.” said the man after he had listened 
to the story, ‘what will you give me?” The owner had loft 
practically all hope and replied, “You may give me out of 
that money whatever pleases you.” The man wriggled through 
the bushes and creepers and descended into the well and retur¬ 
ned with the wallet. He gave the Brahmin two gold coins 
and retained ninety-eight for himself. When the Brahmin 
protested everybody admonished him saying that what had 
happened was in accordance with the stipulation The Brahmin 
submitted that what he had said was no more than a polite 
expression which had later been used to defraud him of all the 
savings of his life. He pleaded for justice, adding that if he 
did not get what he had lost, he would as lief give up the ghost 
in a hunger strike at the door-steps of the king, as die of 
humiliation begging his bread in the streets. 

Though the Brahmin did not know his name the person 
who had defruaded him was soon produced before the king. 
He corroborated the Brahmin’s story but protested that his 
action was not reprehensible by any means. He asserted, and 
herein he was supported by the ciurtiers and councillors, that 
he had not transgressed the stipulation to which the Brahmin 
had given his approval voluntarily. “I fail to understand 
wherein 1 have committed an offence,” he submitted. 

The king was placed in a fix. The man was right according 
to the letter of the law and nobody could find fault with him. 
Yet obviously there was something absurd in the stipulation 



A Daniel come to Judgement 

which deprived the owner of practically the whole sum. Th 
next morning the king announced in his court that the Brah¬ 
min was entitled to ninety-eight coins. "Though 
perceive,” he declared, ‘‘justice remains ever close to in¬ 

There was no doubt in anybody’s mind that the Brahmi n 
deserved ninety-eight coins but none could go against the 
stipulation which limited the Brahmin’s share subject to the 
pleasure of the other min. The king based his verdict on the 
very words of the stipulation : “Give me whatever pleases 
you”. What pleased the man was ninety eight coins and that 
was exactly what the Brahmin was entitled to under the in¬ 
terpretation of the king. Everybody was amazed at the 
ingenuity of the king and the Brahmin went away repeating 

On another occasion the king was faced with a graver 
problem when a person determined to end his life at his door¬ 
step was presented to him. The man submitted that though 
originally a well-to-do person he had, bv a turn of the wheel of 
fortune, been brought down to the lowest ebb. He had incurred 
heavy debts and the creditors pestered him a good deal. To 
escape their frequent demands he had sold his house to a 
wealthy merchant but had kept the well with the steps leading 
to it in the hope that it would enable his wife to maintain 
herself by charging rent from gardeners and betel merchants 
who kept at the place their flowers and leaves cool and fresh 
in summer. Having completed the transaction and paid his 
creditors the man left for the plains in search of a livelihood, 
secure in the belief that his wife was provided for fairly well. 

The man returned from the plains after twenty years with a 
little fortune but failed to see his wife where he expected her. 
When ^t last he traced her, he found her worn out and prema¬ 
turely old, for she had taken service at the house of a wealthy 
man to maintain herself. The husband failed to understand it, 
for he had left the well to her for her sustenance. “When I 


Tales from the Rajnta*angini 

went to the well niter your departure," mid the woman “I 
turned away and cudgelled. They told me tk * « k ’ , 
also been sold/* The husband had Z r' u T" ^ 

court, him.elf but the judge, dismissed hi. suitTvery timeTml 

the doorsteps of*thVkiTg offe^hii lif ' '"'"n *° 

r . , K ollcr * l,H hfe as a libation in the 

ftanu of justice, to obtain justice or to die. 

h k !?? ““'"IT 1 th ° S * IC dml and f °“"d the well 

(.ad indeed been sold He sought the advice of hi, councillor, 

"hat ITT * d , that 'h c sale-deed wa, un.mbiguou, and 
hat the suitor was cither insane or a charlatan. In spite of 

this unanimous verdict against the plaintiff the king felt that 

what the poor man said was true. He called the defendant and. 

as was expected, he only confirmed what the judges had said 

home councillors even felt that the king was raking up issue, 

that were absolutely dead. 

Of all the parties involved, if anybody was in a fix it was 
the king. He was taxing his mind to find a way to prove the 
guilt of the vendee of the property sold twenty years back He 
was anxious to convince himself and the others of the inno¬ 
cence of the original owner of the house. After a while the 
subject was apparently dropped and the king told the courtiers 
of some wonderful tales he had heard and an atmosphere of 
cheerfulness and jollity was thus built up. In this playful 
mood the king examined the jewels of his councillors and the 
ring of the merchant-defendant in the suit before him. Nobody 
had even a trace of suspicion. 

On the pretext of washing his feet the king left his chamber. 
Calling a trusted servant, he sent him to the accounts clerk of 
the merchant-defendant with the merchant’s ring. He was 
asked to produce the ring and say to the clerk that the merchant 
was asking for the ledger for some important purpose. The 
clerk recognised the master’s ring and handed over the ledger. 

The king examined many entries carefully but no clue to 
the issue involved was found. Eventually, however, he came 


A Daniel come to Judgement 

u pon an entry that intrigued him. The merchant had paid a 
thousand chmiurj to the otllcial recorder who had drawn up the 
sale deed of the house. The Icing felt, and his councillors 
agreed with him, that a thousand ditmars was much too high a 
sum to be pan! for drafting even an important deed, especially 
for a merchant who is chary of lavishing money. The obvious 
conclusion was that for the thousand rupees paid to him the 
scrivener had enabled the merchant to obtain something much 
more valuable. The scrivener was called, the sale deed was 
examined once again and it was established that the vendee 
had been deprived of the well and the outhouse by forgery. By 
changing* ra (t) into sa («t) the scrivener wrote ‘the house with 
the well etc/ instead of ‘the house without the well etc.* The 
stand taken by the petitioner was vindicated and the king rejoi¬ 
ced in that the promptings of his conscience had not misled 

At the unanimous request of the members of the council 
the king restored to the plaintiff not only the well that was his 
but also the whole house which he had sold and the merchant 
was ordered to be expelled from the country. 

*SapanakHpasahitam vikritam grharn instead of 
Sapanakuparakitam vikritam grharn. 


Didda’* Dip| 0niacy 

THF rule of the dynasty founded by Yasaskara came to an end 
when Pravagupta. a minister, seized the throne after a C nup 
d'etat and sot aside Sangramdeva, the son of Yasaskara. p ra 
vagupta was succeeded in 950 A. D. by his son Ksemagupta 
Perhaps the most remarkable incident in the life of the latter 
was his marriage to Didda, the daughter’s daughter of Bhima 
king of the Sahis whose principality stretched from Kabul to 
Attock. Bhima was the predecessor of Jaipal, Anandapal and 
Trilochanpal who measured swords with Mahmud of Ghazni. 

Didda was a woman of strong likes and dislikes and do¬ 
minated the scene very early in life. Her husband took ano¬ 
ther wife Chandralekha, daughter of Phalgunachandra, the 
warden of the frontier, and Didda never excused the father of 
the co-wife on this account. She overawed the king Ksema¬ 
gupta so much that he earned the humiliating epithet of Didda- 
ksema. Her husband died after just a few years in 958. The 
queen did not end her life with him but assumed the guardian¬ 
ship of the successor to the throne, the infant Abhimanyu, 
Ksemagupta’s son. As a matter of fact other co-wives followed 
the king in death and ostensibly Didda also prepared to tollow 
suit. She even obtained the permission of Phalgunachandra, 
the prime minister, for self-immolation. But near the fune* 
ral pyre she repented her decision and her death was preven¬ 
ted by another minister Naravahana who was devoted to her. 

Phalgunachandra was her first target and though he was no 
coward he retiied to Poonch after laying down his sword in the 
sanctuary where Ksemagupta had spent his last days. But this 
did not give her complete satisfaction, for there were still many 

Pidda'i Piphwary 

pcoplf abroad who chimed their decent from Pr»va«upt«. 
Onrof thrmwa* Mthimtn, horn of PravaKuptiT* daughter, 
and Didda sent order* to exile him. But the man wa* made 
of uterner stuff. Not only did he re*i*t hut he also provoked 
manv people to raise a revolt, and accordingly a formidable array 
,if rebels milled round Mahiman. They included Eramantaka 
of Parihasapura and the Brahmin* of Lalitadityapura led by 
Yasodham. The rebel armies closed in upon Pampur. 

Only one minister Naravahana remained by the side of 
Didda. Her position was precarious, but she did not give way 
to panic. She sent her son Abhimanyu, the minor king, away 
to safety and began to tackle the grave problem lacing her. 
Her enemies stood solidly together as they had sworn by sacred 
libation, “An attack on any one of us is an attack on all. She 
tried to create a rift among the enemy ranks and when other 
methods failed, she used gold lavishly like a seasoned diplomat 
and won over the Brahmins of Lalitadityapura. Their leader 
Yasodhara was appointed the supreme commander of the army 
and soon after Mahiman fell a victim to witchcraft. The rule 
of Didda was thus established. 

Not long after the commander-in-chief, \asodhara, was 
sent on an expedition against the Sahi ruler Thakkana. Mar¬ 
ching through ravines and defiles he subjugated the enemy but 
spared his life. Returning home flushed with victory he in¬ 
curred banishment as the queen felt that he had accepted bri¬ 
bes from Thakkana to spare his life. Once again a mighty revolt 
was raised and the queen survived only by the skin of her teeth. 
The minor king was sent away to safety and though Didda had 
but little support, she held on bravely. At one stage the ene¬ 
my came to her very palace and was driven back by a desperate 
sally of the brave Ekanga bodyguard. The steadfastness and 
courage of Didda enabled her armies to turn the tide. She 
punished the rebel leaders including Yasodhara. The queen 
exterminated all opposition including those ministers who had 
played with the lives of numerous kings. 


7 ait ? /rc»m tli* R<iifltaT'p*fini 

Of the numerous leaden of standing only one. viz , Nara- 
v*han» remained. Backbiters and wicked people began to fill 
Oidd® f> ea ' ith reports against this minister who had remain¬ 
ed loyal to her all through the vicissitudes, and she began to 
harbour suspicions against him. He was so exasperated at her 
changed behaviour that he languished and died. Her son 
Abhimanyu also could not stand the humiliation of his mo¬ 
ther s sinful life He developed consumption and died. Did- 
da was shocked beyond measure on account of the death of her 
son and turned what appeared to be a new leaf in the book of 
her life. Placing on the throne her grandson Nandigupta, she 
developed an affection for her people and built temples, shrines 
and hospices. But this phase of her life was also shortlived. 
Longing for power and the pleasures of life soon got the better 
of her and she practised sorcery against her infant grandson 
Nandigupta who embraced death. Two years later his successor 
Tribhuvana, another grandson, met death at her hands for the 
same reason. 

Bhimagupta, Didda’s last grandson, approached the altar 
of death when she placed him on the throne. In the words 
of the historian, “W ith her open misdeeds and excesses she 
became .terrifying a hundredfold now ” Procuresses and 
pimps flourished, and distinguished officers, like the lord of 
the marches, also resorted to indulging the queen thus. Tunga, 
orginally a grazier of buffaloes from Poonch and later a bearer 
of despatches, captivated her heart and became her favourite. 

She gave up all shame in this liason and the commissioner of 
Srinagar, Bhuyya by name, was administered poison and killed 
when he expressed disapproval of her association with Tunga. 
The grandson regnant Bhimagupta also began to express his 
resentment on her deplorable ways. Without the least qualm 
of conscience she imprisoned him and tortured him to death. 

Thereafter she occupied the throne herself and made Tunga 
her prime minister. The other ministers, filled with jealousy, 
v,ere provoked to revolt. They *ven invited Y'lgraharaja, 
Lidda s brother s son and induced the Brahmins to go on 


Didda' s Diplomacy 

hunger - strike. Widespread uprisings were caused by the 
Brahmins’ hunger-strike and a search for Tunga began. But 
Didda concealed him within her apartment, distributed gold to 
the fasting Brahmins and broke the confederacy. The position 
of Tunga was consolidated and the revolting ministers were put 
to the sword. Vigraharaja disappeared from the scene but 
kept in touch with the people here through emissaries. Some¬ 
time later he induced the Brahmins to resort to hunger-strike 
once again and they did so in the hope of receiving bribes. But 
they had overshot the mark, for Tunga attacked them, the 
emissaries fled and they got asylum in the prison house. Even 
those Brahmins who had been granted gold by Didda herself 
were arrested and imprisoned. 

Didda left no stone unturned in order to satiate her demo¬ 
niac thirst for power and pleasures of the body.' At last a stage 
was reached when she felt that she was nearing her end and she 
thought of appointing a crown prince to succeed to the throne 
after her death Like the bitch who preys upon her own litter 
she had put on end to the offspring of her husband including 
her own grandsons. Consequently she turned to her brothers’ 
sons, the Sahi princelings, to select her successor, and put the 
tender-aged boys to a test. A number of apples were thrown 
to them and each was asked to collect as many as he could. 
They fought each other, giving blows and scratches. C ne of 
them, Sangramraja, collected the maximum number of apples 
and yet escaped all injury. When asked how he managed to 
come out unscathed, he replied, “I remained aloof while they 
gave blows and scratches. I was unhurt and yet secured the 
fruit”. Everybody realised that Sangramaraja was really born 
for the throne to which he ascended on her death in 1003 A.D. 
He was one of the many princes of the trans-Indus region 
called upon by destiny to inherit the sceptre, crown and parasol 
in Kashmir. 


A Family Feud 

MOHAMMAD of Ghazni ruined the Sahi kingdom which exten¬ 
ded from the Punjab to Kabul and beyond, and contributed 
many princes to rule the valley of Kashmir. Trilochanpal, 
the last of the Sahis, sought help from Sangramaraja of Kashmir 
and the latter sent him many Damara warriors under Tunga, the 
former paramour and prime minister ofDidda. After the 
defeat of Trilochanpal scions of the Sahi dynasty sought refuge 
in different states. Three of them, Rudrapal, Diddapal and 
Anangapal were welcomed by king Ananta (1028—1068) in 
Kashmir. Radrapal got the king married to his sister-in-law, 
Suryamati, daughter of the king of Jalandhara, modern Kangra. 

Ananta had no great thirst for power but instead he loved 

the betel leaf and horses. He found able ministers. Besides 
this his domineering wife applied herself to the affairs o _ he 
state and the king himself was content with the 
submission to her. After the loss of h.s »n hshe^w 
filled with disgust against pomp and power. He shifted h* 
residence from his palace to a convent and gave lar § el > 
charity. He was next persuaded by his wife to * bd,C ‘* tu £ 
in spite of the advice of his prime minister Haladhara 
invested his son Kalasa with the crown. So Kalasa asce 
the throne and Ananta suffered to be designated a prince. 

In the course of time Kalasa came to wield power 

dent of his parents and was surrounded by the seekers 

and patronage. Suryamati repented her indiscretion only when 
she found Kalasa’s wives display jewels and costumes. Kalasa 
conducted himself deplorably, and charlatans came to the fore¬ 
front in the guise of gurus and procurers in t e 0rm ,°. _ , 
tiers. Flatterers and satellites prospered. The new ki g 


A Family Feud 

qan to seek women for the promiscuous gratification of his 
carnal passion. Ministers and courtiers encouraged him to 
visit their female folk and served as his intermediaries. 

On one occasion he was lured by the daughter-in-law of a 
noble, Jinduraj, and entered his house by stealth at night. Be¬ 
ing warned by barking dogs the watchmen rushed at him with 
naked swords in fear of robbers and his life was saved with 
difficulty only when he revealed his identity. This incident 
created a sensation and his parents wept for long when they 
heard of it. They decided to dethrone and imprison Kalasa and 
to crown the eldest of their grandsons, named Harsha. The 
oppoitune moment came on a day when his mother Suryamati 
was in silent prayer and meditation. She could not handle 
the situation personally and Ananta failed to act with firmness 
and tact Out of anger they decided to go to Vijayesvara. 
Collecting all the treasures from Srinagar he reached Vijayesvara 
where he was joined by many warriors, Damaras, courtiers 
and noblemen. 

Kalasa was also determined to retrieve the lost ground. He 
rallied his friends, took loans from capitalists, won over the 
infantry and arrived at Avantipura to fight his father. On his 
part Ananta made ready to meet the attack. But Suryamati 
intervened in the family feud. She upbraided Ananta for his 
relish in the armed clash and reprimanded the rashness of her 
unfilial son in preparing to overtake his father in battle when 
he himself was impecunious and unable to withstand the 
forces of his father. There was a temporary relaxation in 
hostilities. Kalasa forfeited the property of the partisans of 
his father but Ananta was prevented by his wife from taking 
retaliatory measures. Ananta and his wife decided to place 
the crown on the head of their grandson Harsha ; but the 
Brahmins started a hunger-strike to bring about reconciliation 
between father and son, and they succeeded to the extent that 
the old couple began to live in the city again. 

The peace was, however, not to last long. Learning that 
Kalasa wanted to imprison them, Ananta and his wife fled to 


Toirt from tho ItojattirtinffWi 

V'i j.iyrnviii i. The impious son pursued them thither ana 
fretting fire in the haystacks for the cavalry he put the panicky 
infantry to the sword. Once again the queen prevented any 
retaliatory measures and the king lightened the burden on him 
l>\ giving tlirir own weight in gold in charity. Emboldened 
by his lather’s inactivity Kalasa caused arson at night and the 
sacred town was reduced to ashes. Neither the troops nor the 
people had cloth to cover themselves and they to'.k shelter 
under rools made of reed matting. The queen sold a hidden 
jewel and provided food and raiment for the troops. 

Kalasa then ordered his father to be confined to Poonch and 
Suryamati urged her husband to embrace the decree. It was 
too much even for such a hen-pecked king as Ananta and set 
off a bitter quarrel between the old parents, and accusation and 
counter-accusation followed. “Having destroyed my happi¬ 
ness in this world,” bewailed the king, “she is striving to ruin 
hope of happiness even in the next.” It was customary for 
the kings of Kashmir to await death in their old age in a 
sanctuary in the faith that they would be shrieved of sins, and 
Ananta could not find a place of greater sanctity than Vijay- 
esvara, and yet the queen wanted to drive him away to Poonch 
to soothe her son. The king spoke humiliatingly to her and 
even repeated the rumour that Kalasa was no son of his but a 
substitute for his child when it had died. 

The queen who had dominated her husband all her life was 
not to be silent and her tongue spluttered with gall and fire. 
The king was stung with pain at her words and thrust his 
dagger into his bottom. Streams of blood began to flow while 
the queen looked on in bewilderment. He caused it to be pro¬ 
claimed that he was suffering from a haemorrhage and bravely 
bled to death The queen made arrangements for a befitting 
funeral for her husband ended her life in flames by the pyre 
lit for his body. 


The Prince who was a Piper 

\n*nta (,ol*-to6l A D.) committed harakiri and passed 
on the trra*lire to hi* grandson Harsha Kahuna (1063—1069 
\ D ) patched up his differences with his son Harsha. secure 

“ “VhTS« aTa «rn”d 

even sang in pubUc for the gratification o h f ^ r Qn 

from him gifts for the maintenance of h es ^ ^ 

one occasion when cbambe r. Like any 

courtiers telt enthra e , j k 0 f appreciation on 

*»-*£• <ss^z 

give short shrift to the king. ^ , U[| scor vs of sowers of 

No sotsrer «»■ th« The king ""— J 

dissension began to s icions of the prince about 

about it and tried totaUay ries gave a twist to the st- 

Ananta’s treasure. But the " j t0 ot der a siege of the prince, 
tuation and Kalasha was compe Harsha were killed 

The king nevertheless made -t clear that 

he would cut his own head. a little 

At hi. residence, which is supposed to have be 


I ,*1ft rNr Hu jut <iran gint 

M..W the tile of K.,l,| Hat.ha 

.V'"' 1 ',. whtn tht 

77" * hl *—compel w 

•oinitT you." they prote.u-d, we .hall n" "‘ ll 

t .Hying round you." H.r.ha h.d therefor! ZZ Z ** 
•tnkf againrt hit father*! troops and thm * °' Ce but to 


, hT ;'r' '!' T T* f T ,hr Scylla 4nd O'Sd" byW. 
< ...he, a chamber!., n . Ruling into the mid., of Ha^ha" 

T? with the prince on hi, ha.f-heaTed 

effort, to f, «ht the besieger,. "Give your face a .have” he 
advised him. "put on the headgear of victory and prep,,, for 
your wedding with the heavenly nymph,." Having ,hu, cle- 
verly evaded the suspicion of the tough bravoe, he thrust Har- 

sht into thc inner apartment along with a barber and closely 
secured the doors. The chamberlain then ordered the royal 
troops to go into action. Harsha was safely sheltered from any 
reprisals from his followers as from the king’s men. His body¬ 
guard ultimately cave in and he fell into the hands of the king, 
his father, who had him cast into prison 

Harsha was thus imprisoned by his own father who became 
intimate w ith the wives of the prince. One of these, Sugala, 
wishing the death of her husband conspired with Nonaka, a 
minister, and a cook to poison the royal prisoner. But the 
latter was warned betimes and caused the death of two dogs 
to whom he had the food thrown. He had a faithful cook Pra- 
yaga who managed to feed him on what little he could smug¬ 
gle in. It was in these circumstances that the king felt his end 
approaching. He found the ministers against the enthrone¬ 
ment of Harsha. Therefore he asked them to banish the prince 
after handing over the treasure to him. But the ministers 
defeated his purpose and Harsha continued to he lodged in 
prison while Utkarsha, another son, came from Loharu to 
wear the crown. 


The Prince who was a P,p er 
a waiting ^hj, ^JJZTu, ” "ZTtn'lh 

1 . , , x:a,,,t Sing a composition of Harsha Tk» 

i ™ i ” k " «>■• -»■« - <k. ,„w ri ™ 

H. bul . h » h , „, d ,„ m tll w > “■ 

1 He n* w k,n ?i Utkar^ha, Harsha’s younger brother, was the 
governor o Loharu in Poonch when his father ruled in Srinagar. 

c got a contingent of Thakkuras from Loharu to secure Har- 
sa 8 confinement. But people in Kashmir proper knew little 
ot him and they wanted Harsha to rule them Some of them 
even threw flowers at him through the prison windows in token 
of their desire to see him crowned. Two step-brothers of the 
king raised a rebellion and the king decided to put an end to 
Harsha s life. He called the commandant of the prison guards 
and showed him two rings. “If I have this ring sent to you,” he 
told him holding one, “Harsha is to be done to death; if this 
one, he is to be released.” 

The accomplished captive Harsha endeared himself to the 
guards and won over even the hostile elements among them by 
relating to them tales of Harishchandra and other righteous 
men who had persevered through misfortune to a happy end. 
Meanwhile the king gave the signal for the execution of the 
captive but through a fortunate mistake sent the ring to the 
guards that was a token for his release Consequently Harsha 
soon joined the ranks of bis step-brothers in the battlefield. 
Everybody was taken by surprise and the king saw clearly the 
futility of prolonging the battle. Peace was patched up and 

Harsha rallied a large retinue round him 

Reaching the lion-gate of the palace he wanted to report in 
person to the king the end of the hostilities when the commander 
of the palace-guard advised him thus, \ou escape eat 
once by the very skin of your teeth ; why do you seek it once 
again inside ? Steady your heart, and go and sit on the roya 
throne.” While he was considering the pros and cons of this 
bold suggestion his retainers brought the l.on-throne from the 

Tales from the Rajatarangini 

treasury and Harshdeva sat on it. Sugala, his wife who had 
plotted w'th his father and his minister to poison him, seized the 
opportunity and sat by his side to gain the status of queen 

consort. The coronation ceremony was performed and Utkarsha 
was cast into prison. 

Once on the throne he radiated his munificence like the sun. 
His court was resplendent with gorgeous costumes, jewels and 
fragrance. He conferred favours generously upon his petition¬ 
ers. Himself a highly learned man he gave the gifts of gold 
and precious stones to scholars and men of learning. He also 
bestowed upon them privileges by allowing them free enjoyment 
ot the horse, the palanquin, the parasol and the like at the 
expense ot the state. His reputation as a patron of learning 
travelled far and wide. Bilhana a Kashmiri poet who had left 
Kashmir during the reign of Kalasha flourshed as a court poet in 
Karnatic and the Chalukya king Vikramaditya conferred upon 
him the highest privilege of the parasol. But even he longed 
for the honours which poets enjoyed at the hands of Harsha in 

At heart the king was more of a musician than a sovereign. 
In the course of his rule he disgusted the people by many infa¬ 
mous deeds such as the desecration of temples. But they never 
failed to pay tributes to the songs composed by him. Long after 
he was removed from the scene Kalhana paid him a tribute in 
the words,“Even at the present day when a song of his who com¬ 
posed vocal music is heard, tear-drops glisten on the eye lashes 
of even his enemies”. It was but natural for him to gladden 
the hearts of musicians and he lavishly showered gold on their 
troupes to make them emulate royalty. Later, when he started 
robbing temples of their wealth, it was a singer who saved a 
statue of Buddha at Parihasapura, his birth-place, from destruc¬ 
tion at the hands of the king He gave an elephant togethr 
with its mate as a gift to a well-versed musician Bhimanayaka 
who pleased him the playing of the drum. Harsha favou¬ 
red Kalhana s uncle Kanaka with a lakh of gold dinnars as a 
reward for the assiduity he showed in learning music from the 



\ hi>tor,nn cioes not t,v ^e sides. As a humble devotee of the 
spirit ot history he is disinterested in the rise and fall of in- 
vhvidual kings. Kalhana who counted ripples on the river of 
the kings of Kashmir was an embodiment of such disinterested¬ 
ness. I here appears to be one exception, however, wherein 
the historian could not conceal his sympathy, his admiration 
for the nobility and generosity of the king and his lamentation 
over the short-coming of the king leading to his fall and death. 
A tragedian impresses the audience with a sense of waste of a 
great deal of excellent human material, of a promising career 
tut short, ot an orchard laid waste by canker when about to 
Ivai sweet and luscious iruit. This exception was his contem¬ 
porary and his father’s patron Harshdeva, a prince accomplish¬ 
ed in music, dancing and poetry, a patron of men of letters, 
a noble and generous friend who had won the hearts of the 
people. For these distinctive attainments the sense of the 
historian’s grief at the ultimate folly and failure of Harshdeva 
appears to be too deep for tears. Says Kalhana about him, 
“No other king was seen in this age who like him had been 
full of prosperity and in no other case a humiliating funeral 
like his was seen ..Or perhaps it was due to just one thing— 
aversion to war—whereby the exalted position charming in 
every way of that high-minded king was shattered. Or that 
he suffered his judgement to be swayed by others was his only 
filing.” Again and again Kalhana points out how confu¬ 

sion of thought dragged Harsha to his inglorious and pathetic 

In the fall of the prince through his own folly and stupidity 
the historian seems to feel a betrayal of the faith, confidence 


relit from the Rijntnrargwx 

ridicule. L . 

H.r«h» was credulou. and indiscreet. On* d.y hi, cour¬ 
tiers brought ,o hi, presence . dignified lady ^fittingly dt*»- 

«». H.,.h. .. once fell •• b« fee. 

hn with great wealth. Upon this the lady took her depar 

tore. On another occaaion hi. attention waa mv.ted to •evf. 
women who were appropriately attired. He was told they 
were goddesses come from heaven for a glimpse o 
and figure. The king felt flattered and made suitable pre 
to them. Thus his courtiers managed to rob him wt 

hands. ., 

Once in a fit of rage he marched towards Rajour, and laid 
seige to it. The chieftain of Rajouri who had accepted he 
suzerainty of the ruler of Kashmir sought refuge m the cas 
The seige turned out to be a prolonged one and neither side 
was in a mood to give in. Meanwhile the people of that pri 

cipality were subjected to great misery owing to the presence 

of troops amongst them. They thought of a plan to rid them¬ 
selves of this menace and that was to move Madan, one ot th 
courtiers of the king and his warden of the marches, to some¬ 
how arrange the return of Harsha to the valley of Kashmir. 
They brought him presents and he agreed to use his good 
offices for them. Madan had not to put up a strong effort 
H» told Harsha that a contingent of foreign Turks had been 
seen advancing towards Kashmir and counselled the king to 
look to the defence of his capital. The king himself employed 
Turkish mercenaries, perhaps as his body guard, but he was 
so alarmed at the rumour circulated by Madan that forgetting 
to take counsel with his Turkish centurians he repaired to 
Kashmir and the seige of Rnjuri was thus lifted. 

Another testament to his stupidity beats all others. One 



of his courtiers produced before him * picture of Cendsls, the 
wife of the rajs of Karnatak, a paragon of beauty. The pic¬ 
ture representation of the beauty of the lady so betwitchcd 
Harshdeva that it appeared as if his head had turned. He tal¬ 
ked in terms of leading an expedition for the conquest of Kar- 
natala and took fanciful vows in token of his determination to 
desist from living his normal life till he had secured the lady. 
^ palace was set apart for the residence of Candala and a con¬ 
tingent of maid-servants appointed to keep in readiness 
for attending upon the lady. 

The courtier Madan was appointed chamberlain to ihe 
lady and he secured a good deal of money from the silly king 
in the name of the lady on one pretext or another. 

Passage of time far from restoring the king to normalcy 
served to fan the smouldering fire into a flame. The king be¬ 
gan seriously to plan an expediton to Karnataka. The courtiers 
who had been indulging his whim all this while felt consider¬ 
ably alarmed at this development. “Something must be done 
at this juncture.” they decided, “to lay the ghost. It ,s other- 
wise bound to lead to serious consequences. They took coun¬ 
sel with Madan. It was no use advising the king against the 
luxury of his passion, for such a move would not do. They 
decided upon another trick of confidence. 

They submitted to Harsha a letter reported to have been 
addressed to him by the coveted lady of hi. heart herself from 
Karnataka. The letter read, “I was a houne in paradise 
which I forsook because of a longing to meet your majesty. On 
my way I fell into the hands of the raja of the Deccan and have 
been won to his board and bed. I am burning: w«h 
the desire to seek release from him and to wait upon your ma¬ 
jesty. Till my ambition is attained I am sen 1 g 

jesty a few of my J^tThTir compliments 

and eagerly awaited the arrival of the mai se 



1 itlts from thf Kd Frif.itrtmjttit 

On the d.y sppomtcil MaJsn presented to hi, liege a t..» 
young »nd *matt girl, suitably dressed. The foolish king actu- 
.My beheved them to have heen sent from heaven by way ol 
Karnataka and was lost in disports and dalliance with them 
Harshas tdtoayncracy wa, extreme capriciousness, culpable 
credulity and whimsicality fatal for a ruler. Hi, name has 
contributed a word to the Kashmiri language, for when some¬ 
body sets his heart on a project far tco unreal, he earns the 
appellation hershidtl a corruption of Harshadiv 


Harshdeva met his end. In his constellation-as in that of 
Duryodhana—, Kalhana tells us. the moon was in the tenth 
astrological house and malignant stars stood in the seventh and 
the filth, which betokened the extermination of his own dynasty. 
A new ruling dynasty inherited the throne of Kashmir and 
several rulers succeeded one another. One of them Vopayadeva 
so distinguished himself in stupidity as to have been immortali¬ 
sed in the word vopad which is synonymous with obnoxious 

Vopayadeva was so silly that he considered pebbles and 
smaller stones as the offspring of bigger ones. His heart was 
filled with pity and he directed thit the tender stones be fed 
on milk so that they could grow. 

On one occasion he went for an airing on the Dal lake. He 
wore a smile on his face and cast a glance downwards. Noti¬ 
cing his own refbetion in water he mistook it for somebody 
laughing at him out of scorn. Not able to stand the jeering he 
was filled with anger which the reflection faithfully reciproca¬ 
ted. This grimace infuriated him and he struck his ‘adversary’ 
with his hand. As a result the bejewelled ring of his finger 
slipped off and dropped into water. He marked the surface of 
at the spot with a cross and proceeded on his way. 

When he reached the palace h.s courtiers hinted at the miss¬ 
ing ring. He replied that it had dropped into water when he 
had gone for an airing on the Dal. Relying on expert divers 



in his realm he instructed his attendants to go and get the ring 
from the bottom of the lake. “Pray, your majesty,” they sub¬ 
mitted, “could we have an idea of the place where the ring 
slipped off the finger ?*' 

“1 have marked a cross with my finger over there,” was the 
innocent reply 

The courtiers felt so overwhelmed that the anecdote became 
indelibly imprinted on the tablets of their memory. Even to¬ 
day anybody suffering from an intractable mind or possessed of 
incurable morbidity is dubbed as vopad, a contraction of 


The Defrauding B iniya 

HarshADEV'A, the monarch who waa a musician, fell to 
sword of the rebels, his own cousins Sussaia and Uccaia i n ° *"* 
A D. He was succeeded on the throne by Uccaia, the eld 0 ' 
of the two brothers, the younger one, Sussaia, being invest!,! " 
the ruler of Lohara in Poonrh, In the disorder that had been 
accumulating over the years, government officials had grown 
arrogant and the people complained to the new ruler against 
the harassment they suffered at the hands of the official cia Sa 

n order to win over people the king devised methods of circuit 
rentmg red-tape, and delay in awarding punishment to the 
faulty was eliminated. He also set himself the task of dividing 
o cers and noblemen one from another and thus won a breath 

“® | .* PWe : . He renovated temples, rebuilt towns destroyed 
earlier and honoured Brahmins with gifts. V 

One day a petition was presented to the king by one of his 

thafh h *? ! JUdgeS had faUed ‘° 8atisf y him - His plaint was 
of a Ran'* * lakh ° f dinnars with th <= banking house 

ffie dav! y o a f h! th * hE lntenti0 “ filing back upon the sum in 
friendlv t 0 hf \ adVerS ; ty - 71,6 Banyia who appeared to be 
liter had! ° med h ' Fr ° m time *° ^me the depo- 

him to withdl" T, V T 8UmS and the Baniya had allowed 
sit had been mad ***•*•' wenty or tHu'tiy years after the depo- 
to withdraw th K ° rlglnally ' the depositor came to the Baniya 
able period. H ■ ! bUt * he ,atter evaded “ f ° r » consider- 
indication of hi * ° yC< * man ^ P re ^ext8 but never gave any 

« zxzztzt h " fri “ d °- ,b * 

, . smiles and assertions of friendship. 

P° or. however, wanted his money and, having lost 


The Defrauding Baniya 

hi, PJtience. ho became inaiatent. The Baniya wa, well pre- 
pared for th.a turn ,n the a.tuation He diapUyed the uUer ^ M 

°f temper, dented that anythin, w„ left with httn to the cred" 
of the depositor and tn fact claimed a refund of overdraw,!, and 
interest. The client was dumb founded ; he did not deny 
havtn, drawn upon the Baniya from ttme to time, but the petty 
sums he had withdrawn could not swell into a lakh of dinners 
that he had deposited. When he protested the Baniya, who was 
nothing if not thorough, came out with his ledger and confron- 
ted him with the record of his debits through the years. It 
made an interesting reading : Six hundred dinnars had been 
withdrawn according to the ledger to pay tolls for crossing 
bridges ; the maid-servant of the depositor had taken melted 
butter worth fifty for a boil on the foot ; to feed the kittens of 
his cat, mice and the extract of fish had been bought for a 
hundred dinnars ; butter as an emollient for the feet, rice- 
powder, honey and melted butter were purchased for seven 
hundred dinnars during the fortnight of the ceremonial baths 
of the shraddhas ; three hundred dinnars were given to a men¬ 
dicant who subjected himself to torture ; a hundred or two 
hundred were to be reckoned towards the supply of incense, the 
the roots of Sanda and onions presented to the gurus. 

The Baniya gave other details of the sums advanced to the 
depositor on specified dates as entered in the ledger. When 
added these not only made up the total of a lakh but actually 
overflowed into an account for the Baniya himself. The entries 
were recorded with a faultless regularity of the day, the amount 
and the month and the year, and the depositor was dumb¬ 
founded. In polished language the Baniya asked him to close 
the dispute after paying to him what he owed The de¬ 
positor could not, of course, accept this contention and referred 
the matter to many common friends. But the entries in the 
ledger left no doubt in their minds that he had withdrawn the 
entire amount as proved by the Baniya. The depositor sought 
justice in the courts of the judges but on the basis of the evi¬ 
dence submitted even they found no loophole in the defence 
presented by the banker. The depositor was therefore compel- 


Tales from the Rajataran g <m 

... th<> kine himself in the hope that his majesty 
led to petition tne Kins 

would do him just* ^ ; n person from the depositor the 
After hearing ed that thc Baniya with the unctuous 

king fdt more tha "^ his s | eev e which he had employed to 
tongue had a trie p But he did not want to deny 

defraud the ep ^ himself and to present 

th e banker the oppor V obeisance to the king and submit- 
his case The Bamy The statement of accounts 

ted the ledger to prove ' king ’ s councillors nodded 

appeared to be fool-proof an«MJ» ^ ^ to the 

‘^^thltVeC^be ordered to refund to him what 

his name in the led^ ^ ^ ^ * 

The king gave some th ° Ug °' d an approach to its solu- 
last it appeared that he had d.s ^ ^ ^ the mo ney when 
tion. He asked the Baniya he Ban i ya told him that he 

it was deposited with him. Wh ^ produce the jar along 

had kept it in a jar the king ask amount . With an escort 

with what little was left of tb ^ jar in front of the 

the Baniya went to his h of the jar revealed many 

king- On examination the co though ^ or)gma l 

coins minted in the name o asce nded the throne. 

He asked sarcastically. D ^ ha d been made in the time 
for their successors • Th P of j ater ru l e rs too. 

of King Kalasa but I find many ° b merchant has been making 
No further proof is needed that me m . 

use of the amount for hi. own business. ^ ^ 

He declared that the depositor was enti ^ 

that the Baniya had earned on t e_ Yasas kara had 

KUiement of the depositor. Rec f or eery he repri- 

banished a merchant involved in fraud anc de itor the 

minded thc Haniya and ordered him to repay duc at t he 

whole amount together with whatever ir ) t ^ rc ® , ^ d g0 t 

uiuil rate.. The petitioner wa. thu. satisfied that he n 



A Soldier's Stratagem 

THE Central Asian Mongol hordes of the early centuries of the 
second millennium of the Christian era made themselves 
notorious by destruction and massacres. Wherever they went 
they left behind a trail of blood, bones and ashes. So ruthless 
were these hordes that the very mention of their visitation 
struck panic in the hearts of the people. They swept like a 
whirlwind over vast areas in Asia and spread devastation. 

On one occasion one leader came to Afghanistan and con¬ 
quered it without much effort and anxiety. Kashmir was at 
that period ruled by Jaisimha (1129-59 A. D.). After decades 
of misrule, internecine fighting and political instability 
Jaisimha had been able to bring into existence some sort of 
order and cohesion in thee ountry. Jaisimha belonged to the 
line of Sahi princes who had ruled various principalities in the 
Panjab, trans-Indus states and Afghanistan. On the arrival of 
the yavanas or Mongols in the country last named, all these 
princes felc alarmed and they began to form plans to meet 
this new danger ju6t outside the door-steps of India. They 
had, however, not long to wait. The invader soon sent one of 
his generals across the western mountains to knock at the gate¬ 
way to the plains of India, and there he stood like a hobgoblin 

for the people and the princes of India. 

The latter had already had a foretaste of the benignity of 
foreign invaders when by their conduct they had encoura¬ 
ged Mohamad of Ghazni to exercise his lust for power and 
wealth in the hospitable sub-continent of India The news ot 
the arrival of the Mongol alarmed them and many princes 
joined hands to resist his advances. One of the princes who 
offered himself for the patriotic defence of the country was 


UUifrom the Rajaiatangtni 

t v Kmir During the many yeara of feud in hia 
Jaiaimha of ; ® , )f the th ,one of Ka.hmir hia troopa 

family for ,he p ° armoltr to rust nor their bodiea to grow 
h,H n ° l WitMhcir charaiteriatic agility they proceeded to the 
Ch and -ayed themse.vea with other, near the bank 

of the Indus* * r 

. • , tUo first time for Kashmiri troops to face to- 

"s Neariy a hundred years earlier they had been 
S ; * Diddato aid Trilochanpal in resisting the 
idcr Mohamad of Ghazni. Or, that occasion they were led 
bv the minister Tonga, originally a cowherd of Po ^ 
Tonga had fought bravely but had not followed to the etter 
the instructions of the generalissimo with the result th 
had to cut a sorry figure and lost face. Ja.simha was wiser 
this historicals fact and he wanted to make his strategy oo 
proof. The foremost requirement was military mte lgence^ 
Jaisimha asked the commander of his forces, Mulchander,. 
scion of the ruling family of Nagarkot. Kangra. to nominate 
some scouts for the purpose of spying round and within the 
enemy’s lines and report. Mulchander was as wise as he was 
loyal to his master. There could be no dearth of scouts, but 
knowing full well that the loyalty of individuals to a master 
was only skin-deep, especially in Kashmir, Mulchander did not 
want to entrust the responsibility to any half-penny two-penny 
fellow and run the risk of betraying to the enemy the secrets ot 
bis own army. He pondered over the matter, long and deep, 
but could spot no cne to his own satisfaction. Convinced that 
there was no alternative, Mulchander decided to undertake the 
hazardous mission personally. 

He put on disguise and when the night spread its dark 
awning he ventured out. There was not much activity in the 
camp of the enemy and the Kashmirian spy had no difficulty in 
ful 611 ing the purpose he had come for. Using his eyes and 
ears effectively he made a mental note of everything of any 
significance throughout the lines. When he was satisfied that 


A Soldier's Stratagem 

his task had practically been accomplished, Mulchander stole 
into the tent of the Turkish commander himself This was 
done with such great ease that his success came to be afcributed 
later to the power of incantations and charms. He was amazed 
not a little at the complacence of the invading forces, for he 
found the commander blissfully asleep and there was no one 
about who could be supposed to be keeping guard over him. 
Mulchander had a look round and regarded everything with the 
sharp eye of the experienced soldier that he was. He did not 
want to kill the adversary in his sleep for fear of incurring sin. 
It was also against the code of chivalry inherited by him. 
But to apprise the Turk of his feat he placed his pair of shoes 
at the pillowed head of the snoring captain and slunk away 
quietly so that no body in the enemy’s camp was any the wiser 
about the nocturnal visit of the Kashmirian commander. 

When the Mongol leader got up in the morning the pair of 
shoes in an unfamiliar place caught his attention. He also 
found a letter the contents of which amazed and alarmed him. 
It ran. *% Mulchander, commander of the army of Jaisimha, 
sovereign of Kashmir, reached here when thou wert drowned in 
the ocean of sleep. It occured to me that I should sever thy 
head from thy body and thus rid humanity of thy tyranny and 
cunning. But I did not deem it befitting either my sense of 
hospitality or my chivalry to kill an enemy in his slumber. In 
view of this I desisted from giving thee short shrift. Crea¬ 
tures unwary and careless, as thou art, should not risk confron¬ 
ting men of valour and prowess which is tantamount to seeking 
the mouth of the python.”. 

The Turkish commander was so overawed that he sought 
peace with the ruler of Kashmir and beat a retreat. Jaisimha 
returned to Kashmir where Mulchander was rewarded with a 
fief in the valley of the Sindh and exalted to the highest dig¬ 
nity. He built a castle at Gaganger and enjoyed prestige and 
power throughout his life. His office was inherited by his 
descendents for several generations. 


Kota Hani Meets Her Love 

Towards the beginning of the fourteenth century A. D. 
Kashmir was subjected to an invasion by a Mongol named 
Zoulqadr Khan. The visitation was one of the worst in the 
long history of the valley. The Mongols swept over every 
village and hamlet, carrying bloodshed, death and destruction 
wherever they went. Sahadeva, the representative of the effete 
Hindu ruling dynasty was so completely demoralised that 
instead of fighting the invader he decided to tax the people and 
pay a heavy ransom to the invader. But the Brahmins resisted 
the imposition of a tax and threatened to resort to a hunger 
strike. The king, therefore, ran for his life to Kishtwar even 
before Zoulqadr had actually set his feet in the valley. 
Ramchandra, the commander of the Kashmir army, regarding 
open conflict futile, took refuge in his castle at Gaganger on the 
route to Leh where he granted protection to many people- 
Other nobles similarly sought personal safety wherever they 
could and the people were left to their own fate. They suffered 
so badly at the hands of the invader that they betook to hills 
and forests leaving their hearth and home to the enemy. 
Thousands met their death in this manner and the presence of 
the enemy in the midst of this land prevented the survivors 
from cultivating their lands. Famine took its own toll of the 
helpless people of Kashmir. On the departure of the Mongol, 
who met his death alongwith his troops and 50,000 Kashmirian 
slaves while on his way back, hardly one person out of ten 
was left. 

After the darkness was dispelled the people started making 
efforts to rehabilitate themselves. Ramchandra, the comman¬ 
der-in-chief, emerged from his castle to find his country utterly 


Kota Rani meets her Love 

devastated. As a descendant of Mulchandra, Commander of 
the armies under Jaisimha (1128-55 AD) he belonged to an 
illustrious family of warriors who for generations were entrust¬ 
ed with the defence of the country In the absence of the 
sovereign the people looked upto Ramchandra for protection 
and he shifted his headquarters from the hilly Gagangir to 
Andrakot, a castle near the Manasbal lake in the valley proper 
Taking advantage of the destruction caused by Zulqadr Khan’s 
invasion Khasa tribesmen from the hills to the northwest made 
skirmishes to extort what they could from the debilitated 
victims. But Ramchandra took measures to ward them away. 
He had under him two foreigners who had been driven to the 
valley by destiny which had in store for each of them a 
glorious role. One of them was Renchen, a Tibetan nobleman 
who had been granted refuge in Kashmir against persecution 
in Tibet. The other was Shahmir. a Muslim from Swat in the 
territory between India and Afghanistan. Ramchandra dis¬ 
patched both of them to meet the Khasas who were thus 
repelled successfully. For sometime peace prevailed. Both 
the foreigners thus attained eminence and prestige. 

This was a situation when anyone enjoying the status of 
Ramchandra would have ascended the throne to put an end to 
all uncertainty and given the country a stable administration. 
But the accredited leader of the people did not do so either 
out of a sense of loyalty to the sovereign who was alive or be¬ 
cause of a feeling of diffidence or modesty. He did not come 
to Srinagar but continued his stay in his castle at Andrakot. 
Thus he let the situation get out of hand The Tibetian 
refugee Renchan was more shrewd and planned carefully to 
take advantage of the fluid state of affairs. He could not win 
over the populace easily to himself because he belonged to a 
different race and country. But he showed the capacity of 
satisfying the nobility with a fait accompli and he thus won 
the throne of Kashmir which was a rare feat for an individual 
under similar circumstances. 

Renchen deceitfully sent some pony loads every day into 


Tales from the Rajatar'ingini 

the fort of Ramchandra under pret. nee of felling cloth. About 
this time many Tibetian* had ccme to Kafhmir with pony loads 
of grain because Zulqadr Khan’s invasion had led to a severe 
famine. Conspiring with the Tihetian muleteers Renchan had 
small arms concealed in their panners filled with cloth and 
grain and escorted them to the castle of Ramchandra at Lar in 
response to the latter’s demand These sacks of small arms 
were kept under lock and key in a godown and Renchen assumed 
submissiveness and humility to disarm all suspicion. At night 
he gave the signal. His men got up, grasped the arms and 
murdered Ramchandra. His son Ravanchandra was held in 
custody and whoever offered resistance was given short shrift. 
Having accomplished this task at Andrakot, Renchana hastened 
to Srinagar where with the assistance of some nobles and fight¬ 
ing classes he ascended the throne in A. D. 1320. He met with 
little resistance. 

To consolidate his hold upon the throne Renchan secured the 
hand of Ramchandra’s daughter Kota Rani in marriage. Her 
brother, Ravan, was exalted as the prime minister and the fiefs 
of Lar and the region beyond were conferred upon him. He 
also made use of the service of the other foreigner Shahmir who 
became his envoy and the tutor to his son. In the words of the 
historian Jonaraja, “Renchana dried the tears in the eyes of the 
Brahmins whom the King had fined.” 

Renchan wanted to make his occupation of the throne invio¬ 
late. Being a Buddhist he wanted to be admitted to the privi¬ 
leges of Hinduism in order to bring about solidarity and unity 
in the country. The Brahmins under their head Devaswami 
turned down this request Aware of the handicap of his race 
and religion, Renchan declared that he would adopt the faith 
of the person upon whom he set his eyes first at dawn. The 
next morning his curiosity was aroused when he heard the 
words “Allah O Akbar, Allah O Akbar” (God is great). He 
got up and saw Syed Sharaf-ud-din alias Bulbul Shah, a devout 
Muslim, offering his prayers by the river bank. Renchana was 
so impressed by him that he embraced Islam and came to be 


Kota Rani meets her Love 

known an Malik Sadr ud-Din. Whether the conversion was plan¬ 
ned in this fashion hy Shahmir who was eager to strengthen 
his own position is not clear. Apparently nobody took it ill 
anil in fait people in high places felt induced to embrace the 
faith of the sovereign. 1 he members of the king's household 
were followed bv Kota Rani s brother Ravan Chandra into the 
fold of Islam. Many noblemen and officials followed suit and 
there appeared to be no organised revolt or resentment in any 
quarter against this conversion. A revolution of far reaching 
consequences took place silently and imperceptibly, not through 
the instrumentality of a Muslim conquerer but a Tibetian re¬ 
fugee who was born a Buddhist. 

Malik Sadr-ud-Din (or Renchan Shah) died after a reign of 
about three years in A. D. 1323 as a result of fatal wounds he 
received while fighting in a revolt by Tukka, the dismissed 
prime minister. Sahadeva’s brother Udyan Deva had taken 
refuge in Pakhli, the hilly region of the northwest when Zul- 
qadr Khan had subjected Kashmir to his visitation. Finding 
the time ripe he returned and ascended the throne with the 
support of the nobles and Renchan’s widow Kota Rani whom 
he married. He made Shahmir his prime minister. He had 
enjoyed the throne hardly for three or four years when a Tur¬ 
kish invader Urden entered the valley at the head of a large 
force and Udyandeva fled the country to seek shelter in Ladakh. 
His queen, Kota Rani was made of a sterner stuff. Scion of a 
family of warriors she directed Shahmir, the prime minister, 
to organise resistance against the invader. Shahmir who also 
was tutor to Haider, son of Renchana and Kota Rani, rose to 
the occasion and united all the feudal chiefs against the invader 
by reminding them of the consequences of their disunity 
against Zulqadr Khan. Kota also played her part tactfully. She 
w-rote to the invader that as the country was without a king he 
might govern as if he were the head of the dynasty. He w-as 
deceived and sent his troops away. On pretence of celebra¬ 
ting festivities the nobles detained and ultimately defeated 
him- Shahmir was thus the acknowledged leader of the nobi- 

lain from ilu Rajatarangmt 

lily and Udyandrvt, who returned to his country, entrusted 
the administration entirely to hi* handa. Udyandeva passed 
away ailei a h w years in 1339 A D. Kota Rani his widow 
spent fifty days in mourning over his death in the castle of 
Andiakot which being an island could l>e defended. 

When ohahmir lived in his native village of Swat, his 
grand-father, who was credited with considerable spiritual 
powers, is said to have prophesied that his grandson would 
become the king of Kashmir and that his descendants would 
occupy the throne for several generauons This had prompted 
Shahmir to migrate to Kashmir alongwith his family inA.D. 130, 
Sahadeva had conferred upon him a fief in Kruhin near Bara- 
mulla. Shahmir had kept his real intention a secret but found 
himself moving towards the goal step by step. Finding the 
throne without a sovereign and the royal family deep in mour¬ 
ning he felt that the opportune time had arrived for him to 
attain the exaltation in his destiny as prophesied by his ances- 

Andrak 6 t , “ d her fami| y ‘° ‘heir mourning at 

ndrakot and came to Srinagar and entered into a conspiracy 

( W Lones) ma He n h C ' aSSeS ,lke the Lavanyas 

) e had already won over several fpnHal i j • , 

suitable matrimonial alliances. The lc,ds of Pattan ^ "‘l 

and Bhangil were married «u • , P ’ Bhrm 8 h ' 

5 were married to bhahmiri daughters xuh iu *k 

daughters of others entered his own household Th ' 

were won over were Dromlc^ u . h ld * Those who 

adventure while seeds of dissension w' ^ Sp °' ls ° f his 
Who still appeared to be loyal to th 7 S ° Wn amon § st ‘hose 
sovereign. e ami ^ °f the deceased 

tion^rio^flTofsth 3 ^ 6 ? P ° SSiblitieS in the huid situa- 
secret for Jrlyl ^ ^ ^ ° f ^v,a 

son by Renchan, lest Shahm*" d ‘ SCarded Haider - her eldest 
his own guardianship. Out of ,!!** h ‘ m *° thr0ne und « r 
h — on the command in h VT fear Kota Stowed 
brought up her younger son Sh‘t ha ‘ U Bhikshan > who 
mined to outwit her and her nobl^'e W3S ’ h ° W£Ver> deter - 

s. *** 

124 i 01 a stratagem he 

Kota Rani meets her Love 

pretended illness and it came to be known that his end was 
near. Kota wanted to make sure and sent Bhatta Bhikshana 
to him along with others. They found Shahmir’s palace over¬ 
cast with gloom on account of impending death and people 
were discussing whether perspiration was good for one suffering 
from biliousness. 

In view of this turn in the health of Shahmira, Kota’s emis¬ 
sary agreed to see him alone. When he came into the presence 
of the socalled patient, the latter sprang up and killed him. 
Hearing this news Kota determined to besiege Shahmir but 
was deterred by her ministers, who were favourably disposed 
towards Shahmir, from taking such a step. “It is the decree 
of fate,”* they said. 

Shahmir proclaimed himself king with the support of his 
feudal allies in A. D. 1339. He took several steps to rally the 
people round him. The nobles who helped him were amply 
rewarded and he fixed the land rent from the farmers at one 
fifth of the produce. In spite of that he felt that he could not 
be secure as long as Kota Rani was not reconciled to his sover¬ 
eignty. She had egged him on to fight the Turkish invader 
Urden and she could as well inspire others to revolt against 
his own accession to the throne. Deciding upon nipping in 
the bud this evil to his throne Shahmir rushed to Andrakot and 
sent to the bereaved queen the offer of marriage. Mindful of 
his antecedents and his status as the protege of her family she 
prompthy spumed the offer. His first plan having failed Shah¬ 
mir laid siege to the castle. Her commander-in-chief Bhiksana- 

*In 1947 Jawaharlal Nehiu and other Indian leaders passed through 
a similar emotional experience when circumstances compelled them 
to accept partition of the erstwhile Indian subcontinent. In the 
words of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in India Wins Freedom, 
“Jawaharlal asked me in despair what other alternative was there 
to accepting partition. He recognised that partition was evil, but 
held that circumstances were inevitably leading in that direction. 

He said that it was inevitable and it would be wisdom not to oppose 
what was bound to happen 


TjI/s from tfi€ Rcjataranpni 

bhatta hid been foully Killed by Shahmir and manyofkr 
suporten, hiving shifted their allegiance advited her to sufcm.t 
tc the usurper. Being thus hard*pre‘sed Kota Rani could not 
otter any resistance and reluctantly agreed to his proposal of 
mamage Shahmir raised the siege and Kota Rani accompa¬ 
nied him to Srinagar after the marriage ceremony was solem¬ 

That night Sharrs-ud-din awaited his last*wed queen in hi* 
bed chamber She u as to be more than a wedded woman and 
queen, for with her acquiescence all the apprehensions of revolt 
against his rule would end and immense political power would 
accrue to him Bedight :n resplendent garments and scintil¬ 
lating jewel* she steeped into his chamber. As each of her legs 
moved forward her anklets yielded melodious notes and a 
cascade of perfume was unleashed. No emperor could have 
desired a more rapturous climax to his quest for love and 
power. But when Shahmir advanced to receive Kota in his 
arms, she drew' out a dagger from under her garments and 
thrust it into her chest even before the dazed king caught it* 
significance. “This is my acceptance of the proposal for shar¬ 
ing his bed,” she declared as blood spurted from her breast. 
Shams-ud-din stood aghast for a while. He had not bargained 
i0r such a consummation. Having seized the coveted throne 
and founded a ruling dynasty he had failed to win over the 
coveted lady of the land. Thus a political and dynastic revo¬ 
lution with far-reaching consequences took place without a 
bang. The invasion* of Zolqadr Khan and Urden created 
conditions favourable for a change, a rupture with the past, 
but the revolution was accomplished with comparative quiet 
primarily because of internal dissensions. The people of 
Kashmir who claimed descent from Kashyap and other sages 

moved towards a new synthesis of their cultural heritage 
ennehed with the Islamic stream. 



SULTAN Sikander is remembered to this day as few other 
kinps arc. Orthodox Muslims regard him as a zealous follower 
oi the faith. \\ hrn he ascended the throne in A. D. 1394 he 
found the valley of Kashmir dotted with temples sacred to the 
Hindus. These temples had been raised by kings, queens and 
noblemen for hundreds of years. With the zeal of an iconoclast 
he pulled down many magnificent structures housing images of 
gods in gold and silver which enriched the king. He was not 
the first king to desecrate temples, for king Harsha, a contem¬ 
porary of Kalhana, had despoiled temples in order to meet a 
financial crisis But Sikander razed the temples to the ground. 
Many people sought conversion to Islam, the faith of the king. 
Among them was a Brahmin named Suhabhatta. Whether his 
conversion to Islam brought peace to his mind is not known but 
it certainly brought him temporal power. He was a high dig¬ 
nitary of the state already ; on his conversion he was christened 
Malik Saif-ud-Din and Sultan Sikander made him his chief 
minister which office he enjoyed even under the successors of 
his first royal patron. 

Malik Saif ud-Dln is said to have been a man gifted with 
quick assessment of a situation and sound judgement. Many 
anecdotes have been recorded by historians in testimony of his 
wisdom On one occasion a petitioner approached him with a 
plaint. He had entrusted a shepherd with his mare for grazing 
on the meadows on higher altitudes in early summer. With 
the approach of the cold season the shepherd came back to the 
plains with his herd and returned to each owner what belonged 
to him. In the interval this particular mare had been delivered 
of a colt but another man who owned a mare that had been 


Tales from the Rajafarangini 

erwmg under similar circumstances claimed the <r,lt a, Ki 

and the CM. aroused . g „„d deal of interest * Z ,,t 
and latter in the neighbourhood The village elder, met exa 
mrned evidence. railed witnesses, .a, in deliberation day m and 
d y out and yet they could he no wiser about the maner in 
The facts of the case were summed up thus: 

,J:?I ofr *P rir >8 of on* dam and ,ire. belonged to 

! . ? ,OW * V ' 1 ,UBer * A " could be expected, the two mare, 

°° * exat ‘ y alike. Early in summer the two mares were 
passed on to the charge of the same herdsman for grazing in 
pastures on the higher altitudes. Both the mare, had been 
delivered of colt, at about the same time and the colts had 
e a 1 e. But when the herdsman informed the owners 
of the mares of this fact, one of the colts fell a pray to wild 
beasts and only one was left. Since the mares looked alike, 

1 l attC v Wou ^ som etimes follow one mare and sometimes the 
other. Neither the herdsman nor anyone else could say 

• | a II ^ surviving colt. The 

vi age elders failed to come to a satisfactory conclusion and 

the plaint was ultimately submitted to Malik Saif-ud-Din for 

The problem was intriguing even for the wisdom of the 
eminent minister. Neither the law nor his learning had brought 
to his knowledge a case of this kind. His strong commonsense. 
however, brought to him a solution that was convincing and 
effective. He held his court on the bank of the river and had 
the two mares together with the colt produced before him. 
Holding the mares by his side he ordered the colt to be plung¬ 
ed into the river. The colt was taken to the midstream and 
hurled into water while both the mares were looking on. The 

' ,; ire ,liat had Siven birth to the colt could not stand the sight 
and ran headlong into the river after its offspring. The other, 
noi prompted by any maternal instinct, displayed no symptom 
of perturbation and continued to look on. The issue was thus 
decided beyond any doubt or suspicion. 



On another occasion Malik Saif*ud-Din had to deal with a 
case as thorny as the first one. or a little more so as no animals 
were involved. A tailor was so poor that he could not make 
his both ends meet in spite of the hard labour he put in. It 
occurred to him once that he could tide over his difficulties for 
a while if depending upon the good faith of his clientele he 
played a little fraud The stratagem was to privately dispose 
of the garments lying with him but to make pretence that his 
house had been broken into and despoiled of everything by 
thieves Accordingly, he put his plan into practice one night. 
The garments that belonged to clients had already changed 
hands Now the tailor, having kept his doors ajar, raised a 
hue and cry that his house had been burgled and that the 
valuable garments of his esteemed patrons had been taken 
away. He began to shed crocodile tears in profusion. But 
he had misjudged the situation No sooner had he raised a 
shout than the night watchman was upon him. He had been 
vigilant, he protested, since the nightfall and nowhere was 
there even a trace of a burglar. Laying claim to some pro¬ 
fessional experience, he placed his finger at the right spot 
and asserted that the tailor had created the situation in order 
to defraud his clients of their garments. The latter retorted 
that in the circumstances it was the watchman himself who 
had indeed burgled the house. In the midst of this altercation, 
accusation and counter-accusation, the neighbourhood was 
roused and sympathetic people entered the lists on both sides. 
They knew the poor tailor, they also knew the good watchman 
and could not decide who was right and who had committed 

The case was ultimately placed before the chief minister 
for his decision. Apart from the two parties, all those clients 
of the tailor who had lost their garments also evinced interest 
in the case. Unfortunately, even the wise minister could not 
arrive at a decision to satisfy his conscience, let alone the 
public. Pending a deeper probe he put both the parties 
into prison. 


Trtlf* flow ih# ini 

AtWi tomr time it no happened that a servant of the Malik 
du d. His wil» beat her breast and tore her hair. The master 
berimed her with a promise of pension and had the dead 
bod\ placed in a shroud and coffin at hit own coat. It had to 
lv buried in a burial-ground several miles away from the city. 
l*he chief minister got the tailor ar.d the watchman from the 
prison and charged them to carry the coffin to the cemetry in 
the village where the deceased servant was born. 

The two submitted themselves to this ordeal and tiudged 
a couple of miles through mud and slush. The wind was chill 
and biting and they rued the day when they had got involved 
in the case that led them to their incarceration. On one 
occasion when they had placed the coffin down and were having 
a brief respite, the watchman said, '‘Look ye, tailor, what 
led you to set such a trap as to involve yourself and me so 
badly ?” The tailor was famished. It was such an ordeal to 
carry the heavy coffin. He heaved a sigh and confessed, 
‘•Friend, I had fallen on lean days and I thought 1 would 
provide a second meal to my dependents. But it was the thin 
end of the wedge.” 

Both of them were astonished and horrified to see the lid 
of the coffin rise slowly and the servant step out “I say,” he 
said, ‘*your confession of the truth has brought me back to 
life.” The wise minister had played a trick upon them to 
arrive at the truth. The tailor repeated the confession before 
the Malik and the watchman was exonerated. 


ZairiMil-abciin and Shri Hath 

Thf dynasty of kin R s founded in Kashmir by Shahmir, the 
mi R rc from Swat, ruled the valley for nearly two hundred 
years During this period the bulk of the population of Kash¬ 
mir and the surrounding hills embraced the Islamic faith, 
generally either for reasons of a political or social nature, or 
sometimes under persecution. Cases of conversion motivated by 
sincere feeling were not ruled out, especially because of the 
nities between the sufism of Islam and Kashmir Shai- 
Lavanyas of the earlier generations became ‘Lons’, 
Margesas turned into ‘Magres’ or ‘Maliks’ and Damras flouri- 
s e as Dars. People changed their religion but followed 
t eir own calling. Proselytising from Hinduism to Islam was 
carried on by the hundreds of Syeds who had sought asylum 
here from oppression by the Turks and the Mongols in central 
Asia and enjoyed the patronage of the kings of Kashmir. 

Sikandar, usually called But-shifean, or the iconoclast, 
ascended the throne in A. D. 1381. On account partly of his 
own predilections and partly under the advice of his prime 
minister Suhabhatta, a neo-convert, he resorted to fanatical 
persecution of the non-Muslims. Temples and shrines were 
emo is ed, idols broken to pieces and scriptures and manus¬ 
cripts thrown into the Dal. The Hindus were asked to accept 
e re igion of the ruling dynasty or flee the country and natu¬ 
rally became the victims of oppression. The jaziya or poll 
tax and other discriminatory imposts were levied on them. 

nsequently many ot them either became converts or migra- 
te to the plains. Quite a number of them preferred death 
and those who survived could be counted on the finger-tips. 


TaUsfrom the Rajataia”Z ini 

It is said that only eleven 



The Hindus naturally felt harassed, oppressed and do Wn . 
trodden. Their hearts were lacerated. A little over fif t 
voars earlier the Brahmins were so strong that they success^," 
resisted the attempt of Suhadeva to impose taxes in order to 
propitiate Zulchu or Zulqadr Khan. Now they had been re¬ 
duced to a handful in their own country and suffered persecu¬ 
tion at the hands of those neo-converts to Islam whom they 
had dominated and commanded. In the name of proselitisa- 
tion the state encouraged the lawless elements rather than 
grant the law-abiding Brahmins protection against persecution. 
Those handful of Brahmins who stuck to their faith and their 
land of birth against all these odds were possessed of a com¬ 
mendable spirit indeed, verily like those Christians who bore 
the sign of the cross in their hearts. 

The cycle of time and circumstances does not, however, 
stand still. In the course of time Sikandar, the iconoclast, and 
Saifdin, the fo r mer Suhabhatta, succombed to death and after 
a spell of civil war and uncertainty Zain-ul-abdin ascended the 
throne. It was like granting the gift of sight to a person born 
blind; it was like the restoration of the sovereign reason and 
balance to a mind distracted by fiendish nightmares and idiotic 
fancy; it was, indeed, like the return of fertility to a land aban¬ 
doned to the growth of cactus 

Zain-ul-abdin was not an ambitious conquerer. He set his 
heart upon far different ambitions He sought to overcome 
anarchy and disorder. Wherever there was a chance of law¬ 
lessness breaking out or revolt raising its dreadful head, he 
promptly suppressed it and awarded dire punishment to the 
offenders. Having rid the land of misrule or revolt against the 
central authority, Zain-ul-abdin embarked upon a programme 
evelop the productive wealth of the country. He had many 
8 ug to make vast areas cultivable. He also revived se- 
ustries and introduced others, some of which have 

■ r *Wf 


Zain-ul-ahdi* and Shri Rut 

won name and fame for the nimble finger* of »he skilled work¬ 
men of Kashmir. 

This adds npto an excellent testimony for any king. Even 
with this record Zain-ul-abdin would have won a unique place 
in the edifice of the history of Kashmir. But this king's claim 
to immortality rests on qualities and achievements that are far 
more important. He had a truly catholic outlook on life and, 
unlike his father, looked upon the Hindu and the Muslim with 
the same regard. He was gifted with tolerance and held the 
scales even between all communities and sought the company 
ot learned men who came to his court from distant lands. The 
Hindus who had suffered at the hands of Sikandar heaved a 
sigh of relief as the social, religious and political disabilities 
that had been imposed upon them were lifted. 

How was it that the policy of Zain-ul-abdin was quite a 
contrast with the tradition of his predecessors ? How is it that 
while Sikandar laid the foundation of the causeway running 
across the Dal with the manuscripts of ancient lore in Hindu 
houses, Zain-ul-abdin not only sought their sacred books from 
outside the state but made pilgrimages to Hindu shrines like 
Gmgabal, Susramnag and Vishnupad and had sriptures like 
Yogavasishth and Gita-Govinda read to him by Srivara ? Ca¬ 
tholicity and tolerance were an integral part of his nature from 
the very beginning, but an incident in his life helped to bring 
about their sublimation. 

Once the king had a bail on his body. It was attended to 
by the physicians in the routine way but it did not respond to 
their treatment. In a few days it developed into a running 
sore in spite of the poultice and ointments prescribed by the 
experts. The king began to suffer agony on this account, for 
the poison spread towards other parts in his body. As physician 
after physician confessed his failure in checking the growth of 
the poison-infected sore, the king grew progressively emaciated, 
and lost all peace and rest. Many people felt certain that the 
sore would end only with the death of the king who felt help¬ 
less and in despair. 


Tula from th? Rajitarangini 

One Hay news reached the king that a good hut practically 
unknown pnysician was willing to try his remedies on the run¬ 
ning sore. In spite of the obvious reluctance of the physicians 
in attendance upon Zain-ul-abdin, Shree Buth, the unknown 
apothecary, was sent for. Shree Buth observed the king’s 
ailment minutely, took into consideration all its aspects and 
finally submitted his advice regarding its cure. His advice 
was followed and the remedies suggested by him were tried on 
the royal patient. As g3od fortune would have it, the ailment 
began to respond to the new measures and in a few days every¬ 
body felt convinced that the remedy had proved efficacious. 
Sleep and rest were restored to the Sultan, and cheerfulness and 
confidence returned to him. The running sore dried up 
gradually and the wound was healed. The secondary ailments 
to which the sore had led were got over too. Nobody could 
deny that what Shri Buth had accomplished was little short 
of a miracle. The king and his loyal subjects were highly 
pleased with him and even the court physicians who were, no 
doubt, jealous of their new rival felt that Shri Buth had added 
lustre to their profession. 

When the king held his court after taking his bath betoken¬ 
ing his return to perfect health, he expressed his appreciation 
of the services rendered to his person by Shri Buth and offered 
to pay any reward that he asked for. But the physician did 

appear to be moved by the offer of this blank cheque. The 
Sultan tried to make his offer specific and asked if the confer¬ 
ment of a large estate would please the physician. He repeated 
the offer of a befitting reward in terms of gold, wealth and 
precious stones which lure all mortals, and yet the heart of 
Shri Buth made no more response than the running sore of the 
king had responded to the remedies of ordinary physicians. 
Everybody at the court was puzzled and most of all the king, 
for all his life he had met none who would not jump immedi* 
af ' !y at the mere mention of such an offer. Shree Buth sat 
silent, apparently unfathomable, deep as the ocean. When 
he felt that his silence might be misconstrued he submitted, 


7 ain-ul-ad din and Shri Buth 

• Votir Majesty, I am a humble man and my needs are few 
Whatever little I want for myself and my family, through the 
grace of God and the protection granted by Your Majeaty I 
get all that. I have no liking for estates, gold or jewels.....'.” 

The words of Shri Buth seemed to imply that he wanted 

to say somethmg more but hesitated to express. The Sultan 
himself could understand the significance of the hesitation on 
the part of the phystetan and he proceeded to reassure him 
e feel that Shri Buth has something on his heart which he 
esitates to express,” said the Sultan. “He has granted us a 
fresh lease of hfe,” he continued, “let him accept the wor d 
O e Sultan that no harm can come to him if he speaks 

“Your Majesty, my life is in the hands of my liege. Assured 
o safety by the Sultan I humbly seek a boon. Let the Hindu 

as theTrM T T'T ** PermiUed *° en J°y »me liberty 
d! k ! . S T brethren. At present they suffer from several they are required to pay a poll tax ; they are not 

no? putl er d WOrShiP " Sh " neS and temples • ^ey can- 

"‘ P ‘° n dress m accordance with their customs and tradi- 

io tLI x cMd ”" “ ■‘“V 

“Enough, Shri Buth, thou hast spoken enough of the 
disabilities suffered by our Hindu subjects. We recognise ,t 
as a sin to deny them the same rights as are enjoyed by the 
Muslims. In future they would be free to worship God as they 

asThe'; P Teai e . SS ..”. tbey ^ *° edu -te their children 

The king was as good as his word. He issued 
nat the poll-tax on the Hindus be abolished and they be grant- 
the same rights a, the Muslims. The commands were 

o/r <f HindUS bCBan f ° th " Ve Under the P atron *ge 

Shri Bhat U h ,17 ° f ‘ hem ^ *° * he h ' 8hest P°"tions- 
tion Tb ? * Came Za ‘ n ' ul ' abd ‘n’s minister for educa¬ 
tion. The king invited many scholars learned in Hindu 


Tales from the Fajataranpini 

scriptures from India and one of them got with him a copy 0 f 
the Atharva Veda which later came to be regarded as the only 
authentic copy of this tcripture. Jonaraja, and on his death 
his pupil Srivara, became the official chronicler and on the 
request of the latter the king abolished the last disability on 
the Hindus, viz., the cremation tax on the Hindu dead. Not 
content with this he encouraged Hindus to live their lives in 
accordance with their traditions and customs. He participated 
in their festivals, especially the feast of lamps when they 
celebrated the anniversary of the birth of the Vitasta,* the river 
uhich gives life to the valley. He also went on pilgrimage to 
such shrines as Susramnag, Gangabal and Konsamag where 
Srivara, the chronicler, accompanied him. By such deeds the 
benumbed spir'ts of his Hindu subjects were set to blossom 

and the Sultan came to be known as Bud Shah or the Great 

Zain-ul-abdin is the only ruler of Kashmir whose memory 
has been cherished thus. He owes it not a little to Shri Buth. 

The physician won for his brethren an incalculable boon 
and for himself undying fame. A locality near the palace of 
Zain-ul-abdin is still named **Shri Buth” after the physician 
who helped the king’s growth and enlightenment. 

• The Vitasta, or Jhelum, according to a legend, is a manifesta¬ 
tion of Parvati’s, the consort of Shiva. Shiva is said to have 
•truck the earth with his trident near the abode of Nilnag when 
the Vitasta gushed forth on the 13th of the bright half ot 
Bhadun (i. e. September). 


SOMETHING ha* already been mentioned f >f how Zain-ul- 
abdin’*- name ha* attained unrivalled celebrity in the history of 
Kashmir and why hi« subject* u nferred up</n him the umq *e 
title of‘Budshah’ or the ‘Cireat King’. There are many tai*^ 
recorded by historians and learned men which stand as a tribute 
to hi* catholicity, his regard for the welfare of hi* subject* and 
his wisdom. Many failed to understand how, coming *oon after 
hi* father, Sikandar the iconoclast, he could display godly catho¬ 
licity and angelic tolerance, thus demonstrating secularism in 
word and deed which i* unique in history. Thi* striking phe¬ 
nomenon has led to many imaginative exercise*. 

According to one version Zain-ul-abdin’s malady proved 
fatal for him and neither Shri Buth nor any other physician 
could save his life. A few hours before his spirit was expected 
to seek release from the mortal body, two of his devoted Hindu 
servants unable to stand the parting from the king approached 
a j 0 gi f whom they knew as possessed of extraordinary spiritual 
powers. The jogi replied that the king’s end could not be 
delayed but that out of consideration for their distress he could, 
through his extraodinary powers, animate the dead body with 
his own soul The two Biahmins felt pleased and promised to 
abide by all conditions that the jogi laid if he actually instilled 
the dead body with his own &oul. 

Having impressed upon the Brahmins the urgency to keep 
his mortal body well preserved, his soul leh it and made the 
body of the king on the death-bed instinct with life- But t 
process was effected so smoothly that nof>ody could suspect 
anything. The moment the king awoke horn hi» death like 
slumber, the Brahmins cremated the body of th* y>g t *o t dt 


Tales from the Rajatarangini 

his soul could not return to it causing the “death” of the 
king’s body. 

His recovery from illne s brought about such an unpredic- 
table change in the life of the Sultan that even his very close 
associates began to wonder. He lived for thirty two years after 
the incident and forgot all distinction of caste, creed and colour 
in his treatment of his subjects People could not explain this 
complete transformation except on the basis of the soul of the 

Hindu yogi having re-animated the body of Zain-ul-abdin 
after his death. 

The official chroniclers of the Sultan, Jonaiaj and Srivara 
have so much to record about the beneficial activities of the 
kmg that they practically neglect to say how he dispensed jus¬ 
tice and probed deep into problems. On one occasion a Brahmin 
submitted a petition to the king that he had lost his cow. The 
poice could not trace it anywhere and the owner of the cow 
who belonged to Jayapidpura, near Sumbal, had to be content 
Sometime later, he went cn a pilgrimage to Maraz, or the 
district to the south of Srinagar. He passed through a village 
where he saw a cow resembling his own. The marks on the 
cow were exactly like those on the cow he had lost and he felt 
that his own cow had wandered to this village. He followed 
her to the home of her master and introduced himself to him 
The latter would not oblige him by returning the cow and the 
Brahmin of Jayapidpura. filled with righteous anger, quarrelled 

with him. When these developments failed to settle the issue 
the Brahmin approached the king. 

Botl^ the parties were present when the king heard the 
Brahmin s petition. But in those hoary days it was a far cry 
from Jayapidpura to Maraz and the king’s ministers expressed 
oubt if the cow could have strayed so for away from her origi- 

mentdT. k °‘ h£r hand the Brahmin wa s equally vehe¬ 

ment that by the marks on her person the cow could be no other 

h« h, s own The king did not find it easy to decide the case 
to his own satisfaction. 

At last a solution flashed upon his mind. The cow was there 



before them together with her calves. Jayapidpura was in the 
close vicinity of the Wular lake The lake and the marshy 
hinterland fringing it arour d produced water - nuts in such 
abundance that even the animals were fed on the watery fodder. 
Water-nuts were unknown in Maraz and even men were un¬ 
familiar with them, not to speak of animals. The king, there¬ 
fore, had water nuts thrown to the cow to see if she really came 
from Jayapidpura in Kamraz Everybody was surprised to see 
that the cow ate the water-nuts with relish but the calves she 
had given birth to in Maraz refrained from doing so. The 
sagacity of the king was praised. 

On another occasion the king’s attention was invited to the 
pitiable condition of a Brahmin who submitted that he had been 
deprived of his land by fraud. The petitioner was known to 
the chronicler Srivara and he has given details of the case which 
was decided in his presence. There was a Brahmin Laularaja 
by name who having fallen on lean days sold one-tenth of the 
land belonging to him. The sale deed was drawn up in writing. 
Laularaja died the same year, but before his death he took 
his son Nonaraja and several others into his confidence regard¬ 
ing the sale of his land. 

Nonaraja who came into the inheritance of the property 
left by his father was not very keen about the land that came 
into his possession. He was weak and simple, and it never 
occurred to him that his failure to look after his property might 
adversely affect his interests as those of his descendants. In 
the course of time, Nonaraja came to the end of his span of 
life and the matter was left as it stood. 

Another generation passed and the vicissi udes of time 
drove the descendants of Laularaja to seek their livelihood from 
the good earth. But their title to the land which they looked 
upon as their own was contested and they were thrown out 
This is our land,” they protested but protested in vain, for 
the other party asserted that they had purchased the land out- 

nght and had possession of it. The case was submitted to for dispensing justice. 


lairs from the Rajaturangmi 

1 he king asked the defendant to produce the sale deed 
which when examined testified that ten plots of land had been 
sold by Nonaraja’s son. Thp descendants of Nonaraja sub¬ 
mitted that it was entirely w ithout basis. Their sincerety was 
compelling and yet the king could not go against the document. 
At last it struck him that there may be forged entries in the 
The king had the document thrown into water. The 
newly written letters pertaining to ihe sale of ten plots were 
effaced and the old ones* showed clearly that only one plot of 
and had in reality been sold. The forgerer was punished. 

On another occasion the Sultan was confronted with a 
graver problem depicting human nature in its most repulsive 
aspect. It was a case of ‘smite the nose to spite the face’, or 
to be nearer the truth, ‘stab the heart to spite the face’. X 

Plaint was submitted to the king by a woman against another 

ZThe t ‘ COmpHcated the still further was 

ha the two women were wedded to the same man and lived 

same house. Though the institution of polygamy has 

been m existence for thousands of years, there are few women 

ven in the east who can live at peace with a cowife. 

wither 7 0rT en ' SUbjeCtS of Zain-ul-abdin, were filled 

to the nh T Y a , " 0t mfrequentl y «»ve violent expression 
to the inherent hatred that each nursed against the other. 1, 

of this tMiiT f 3t an<J d f S and the 0nce uxotious husband 
let !o enter t he T ^ the hour -hen he had been 
has been shot f° k T tnm0nial Plurality ‘ “ But ‘he arrow 

canb -rglr tac^ H ^ ^ Say - 

the husband of favouriX'^thTn^ “ aCCUS ’ nS 

s ^ omer. i hey left no stone untur* 

The sale deed was nmh 

according to Dr. Buhler ^ y recorded on hirch back which, 
M ughal conquest, a ■neV* T* ^ f ° F MSS in Kashmir * till the 
b °ilm g the charcoal of almond * 1 k madC f ° r this pur P° se 
“ The ink thus obtained T. ^ gomutro (urina bovis). 

as the birch bark likew sl affectcd by damp or water, and 
Improve dirty old VSS tv J wel1 ' '« Possible to 

... ms them.” R, Porl ■ G. Buhler-1877. 



™ in '"''‘"r 1,n unc ” m Pi’omi*ing ,Nation for 
1 hey won- *lw«y* „ n tl,o lookout for «oi z in« . * H 

to show the other down. ^ n °PP° rt unity 

The sfnior and elder of the two wives who hk.. , 

a feeling of injustice from the day she had 1 adm.t'^ Un ? er 

XizrJZK ' h "" -t - SSS& 

r - 

omed up. ,h t „„„ g |, d h „„ w „ , n(jnt WkJ !”* 

il"rj V"*" ™ «■»*«£> 

• cuted. for no one could th.nk of a mother strangling her 
of I'" t an CVeryb ° dy be,ievPd her 6,or y All who heard 
other« wit"' eXPreSSCd SymPa ‘ hy her and — d thp 

, WhC . n . thekinR heard the Plaint he was filled with anger 
that anybody, especially a womon, should be so stone-hearfed 

“ t0 StranRle a chi,d of enmity for its mother. However 
e commanded the men learned in the law to dispense justice 
case. The two women were summoned by the judges 

cWU ** n ° d ° Ub ‘ ab ° Ut * he Crimp - f or the deceased 

<■ dd had been seen ahve a few hours earlier, and its dead 

ov ore marks of strangulation about the throat. The crime 

was alleged to have been committed when the mother was 

away from the house for an hour or so which fact had been 

corroborated by reliable witnesses. When the junior of the 

co-wives was examined she shed tears profusely and expressed 

complete ignorance of everything. Her looks were disarming 

in their innocence and her tone and expression compelling in 

their sincerety. And vet who could suspect a mother of 

strangling her own child ? The judges made their submission 

to the king that they had not been able to sift the truth from 

Though the Sultan had passed the case on to the judges he 
had the various aspects of the matter under his active consi¬ 
deration all along. No convincing solution suggested itself to 


TsJ'i f~"~ tU ' 

him or to hw m nn+m for quite r,m,et me. 7'* W.**n ’her, 
spplied hrmeHf to the ea«* in r;M earnest r V Of the jur <r 
cry vife ir. private he promised to yrar.t her pardon if the 
cr/r,fr*»i her crime, bit threatened her with dire pumsr >nr er. • 
if the were found guilty m spite of her denial The acy 
repeated that the knew nothin* about the matter and "hat she 
was absolutely amocmu “If you are i nnoc e nt/ retorted the 
k:ng, “you divest yourself of your garments and appear nakec 
before the inmates of your own bouse. ’ The woman felt *h* 
earth underneath her feet. She submitted, “one, I 
would teener be hacked into a thousand pieces than divert my¬ 
self of my garment*/’ 

The king proceeded to the chamber in *hich the terror 
wife wu awaiting her interrogation. She protested her inno¬ 
cence with greater vehemence than the other whom she charg¬ 
ed of strangling her child out of jealousy and hatred- When 
the king put to her the same proposal of proving her innocence, 
she expressed readiness to divest herself of her garments and 
appear nude before the inmates of her house. “The woman 
who could do so/* said the king, “could also strangle her own 
child.” He held her guilty and punished her. 

• In this connection the following news item from a daily news¬ 
paper of 13—-7—1963 appears to be of interest : Ankara, July 11: 
“An angry 20-year—old woman drew a pistol from her handbag 
and shot her husband dead in open court here yesterday after a 
jury had found him not guilty of cutting off her left hand. 

The court accepted her husband’s version that the woman had 
cut off her hand herself so as to be able to accuse her husband 
of the crime. 

The news item bore the caption: “Angry Young Woman”. 


Habba Khat un 

I n an earlier chapter mention has already been made of Har- 
shdeva, a prince devoted to fine arts like music and dancing. 
Kalhana has lavished a good deal of sympathy over him and 
has been equally severe with him on account of his folly which 
brought about his downfall. About five hundred years after 
Harsha another king who was infatuated with music, dancing 
and the fine arts succeeded to the throne in Kashmir. Yusuf 
Shah Chak, as this king was named, lives in the popular ima- 
gination for two reasons. He mismanaged the state so badly 
that it became possible for the Mughal king Akbar to conquer 
and annex Kashmir to his vast empire and secondly he married 
a woman who has attained fame under the name of Habba 

Zoon, the name which Habba Khatun bore before fortune 
dawned upon her, was born in a petty village near Pampore, 
famous for its saffron. She was gifted with extraordinary be¬ 
auty and had cultivated her voice so well that people felt spell¬ 
bound at the enchantment of its melody. This was especially 
so when she sang the tune A raq. Her father was, however, 
a poor peasant and could not find for her a husband who could 
value either her looks or the bewitching sonorousness of her 
voice. She was married to a man who was no better off than 
her father and who, blind to the extraordinary dowery nature 
had given her, reduced her to the drudgery o t e ewers o 

wood and drawers of water. The tender and refined namr, of 

Zoon could not stand such a life, the marnage broke 

returned to her father’s house. 

Z®on had not only the voice of an 
bility of a poet. The frustration in 

angel but also the sensi- 
her emotional, domestic 


I fllr* ftttftl Iht ft<11 /i 1 1 1/| np t n f 

«(.,l am ul I.I.- a. 'ply wound, d bar tool a„<l to r , li#f f 
llH. pain .br n..,I. lha world ih. world of m,„ ,„d n,«u r "‘ 
hlf ‘' * n ' 1 of flower and tree, 0 f the itar« hill 1 

.. , h .**"* and uttered her Un 

willingly .he had grown into a ,«et and whoever heard her 
•ink apnnlanroualy in he. native tongue, found m , tfa| 

. pnign.m y ol feeling .'moat unknown to them before Her 
aon K . which .prang .he depth, of her aoui .till atnke 
chord, ol aympathy among all those wh , hear them. When 
they were .ung in her own mellifluou. voice, they either moved 
l » hearer, to teats or disembodied the spirit Many of her even now generate a mood of melancholy brooding. They 
loimoi an address by the love-lorn woman to the 

"■' band who has discarded and slighted her. The most popu- 
lar ol them all is :— 

Who was the jealous rival (co-wife) of mine who has enticed 
you away and why has aversion for me grown in you. 

One day she was singing such a song oblivious of the ups 
and downs in capitals, palaces and courts when Yusuf Shah 
( hak, the ruling prince, happened to pass that way. His ears 
were assailed by her mellifluous strains and he stood enthralled 
She had outlived the period of misery and frustration in her 
destiny. I he king having never seen such a harmonious com¬ 
bination of good looks and sweet voice was at once overcome 
by the charm of her personality. He sent precious gifts to her 
father Abdullah alias Abdi Rather and exalted Zoon to the 
honour of his sweetheart and queen. Thereafter he spent all 
his time in the company of Habba Khatun, the name adopted 
by the erstwhile Zoon, in song, minstrelsy and sportive dal¬ 
liance even to the detriment of his kingly duties. He was per¬ 
haps the first man to discover the enchantment of the hill re¬ 
sorts and meadows Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Achabal and Ahrabal. 

The exaltation ol the queen from her distracted life in the 
peasant s hut and hovel to the palace led to the fulfilment of 
the hidden needs of her soul and brought about a sublimation 


ffabbt l Khalun 

in her nature Lyrics and songs poured forth from her lips 
which have won a permanent nich^ for her not only in the 
literary history of the country but also in the national imagina¬ 
tion. Several anecdotes have been recorded by historians 
which stand as a tribute to her wit, intelligence and magnani¬ 

In her own life time she became a celebrity for her beauty 
and her attainments in music and poetry and many people, 
doubtless, took a fancy to her One of them, an unsophisti¬ 
cated youth, somehow developed a longing for her person but 
dared not express it for fear of dire punishment. He was 
artless and naive, yet there was a degree of intensity and truth 
in his passion which consumed him from within and he began 
to languish for the beloved of his fancy. It could not pass 
unnoticed for all his secretiveness. He had a wife devoted to 
him and she felt alarmed at the deterioration in his health and 
spirits. At last after persistent appeals she wrung the secret 
out of him that the canker lay in his incurable longing for the 
person of the queen. 

The good woman was dumb-founded at the morbidity of 
her husband and the audacity of his passion. Apart from the 
pangs of jealousy that the revelation of this knowledge kindled 
in her, she could not breathe the secret lest it recoil upon her 
husband’s head as well as on her own. Yet the state of health 
of her silly husband was growing progressively more precarious, 
and she felt that unless he took some steps to find a solution, 
the life of her husband appeared to be in danger. She was so 
devoted to her husband that she would face any ordeal to save 
his life from danger or his mind from distraction. She held 
out an assurance to him that she would do e\ci>thin 3 to e p 


According to a plan she sought employment in the retinue 
of the queen as a maid. This made it possible for her to 
free access inside the palace. In the course of time she became 
attached to the person of the queen and lost no opportunity to 
impress her with her zeal and devotion, selflessness and humi- 


Tale9 H th* Raiatara' *™ 

lity When b'tm* labour had gained for her a degiee of re¬ 
gard in the queen'* heart, one day ahe made hold to lay bare 
her own heart to the *ugu*t lady- Before doing so, however, 
she sought and obtained a promise that no harm would come 
to her or any one related to her on account of what she was 
going to say. Having proceeded so far the maid, with as much 
of tact and art as she was capable of, revealed the secret of her 
husband's longing for the person of the queen. 

Habba Khatun was filled wi’h frenzy beyond description. 
She was astonished to learn that any humble man could so 
play with his life as to engender a mortal fancy for the august 
person of the queen which even the sun and the moon were 
ashamed to touch. The maid with object humility reminded 
her of the promise of mercy to which she was already commit¬ 
ted. After her fury had slightly been composed it struck her 
that it was an extraordinary request to come from a woman. 
Whatever the crime of her husband, she felt that the devotion 
with which the maid pleaded his cause deserved consideration 
and appreciation. The temper of the queen cooled down and 
she reassured her maid that because of her devotion and fide¬ 
lity no harm would come to her or her husband on account of 
the nature of the request which would have driven any other 
person to the gallows. 

The incident passed off without any adverse consequences 
to the maid. But she began to sigh and languish because 
what she had banked upon had failed her. Habba Khatun 
understood it quite well and admired her deep attachment to 
her husband. One day the queen asked her, “Maid, how goes 
it with your husband now ?” To which the other submitted, 
* Worse and worse, your majesty,** and she began to sob. 
“1 would do anything for his sake,” she continued, “but to my 
ill luck this is a matter obviously beyond my means.’* The 
queen was touched by this statement and warming up towards 

the maid told her that she would like to talk to her husband 
the next day. 


Haf>ba Khatun 

At the appointed hour the man made hia obeisance to the 
d-teen in her audience chamber. The two were all alone. She con- 
ceded at once that a feverish imagination had truly consumed 
the fellow and reduced him to a shadow, and that only a bold 
gesture on her part could restore him. Out of regard for her 
maid she was prepared to go more than half way to help her 
moonstruck husband. 

She treated him with kindness and heard from his lips an 
account of the infatuation which had seized his spirit and gna¬ 
wed into his flesh insidiously. Not once did she frown or fal¬ 
ter in her indulgence towards the unfoitunate petitioner. She 
appeared to have softened towards him and willing to grant 
his boon. At last she said with her own tongue, “I shall ad¬ 
mit you to my bed-chamber tonight provided you agree to the 
conditions that you keep the matter absolutely secret, 
that there is to be not a single light and that no word is to be 
exchanged between us then ” A blind man does not seek the 
gift of sight with greater eagerness than the man agreed to all 
the conditions set by the queen. 

At the appointed hour of the night the infatuated man was 
admitted to the palace and led to the bed-chamber of the 
queen. As agreed upon previously, there was no light, nor 
was a single word exchanged by any one nearabouts. But the 
nostrils of the man on his errand of love were assailed by a frag¬ 
rance all extraordinarily delicious Strains of music, soft and 
voluptuous, came from some far off chamber and, all in all, 
the whole atmosrhere was enchanting. He had not had much 
time to imbibe the aroma of the royal bed-chamber when his 
attention was arrested by a soft jingle of feet. The intruder 
felt convinced that the august person of the queen dressed in 
the spier dour of silks and velvet, had deigned, in accordance 
with the promise given to him, to respond to his longing for 
her. He was in an ecstasy. 

The silly lover, through an exercise of the queen’s wit, had 
found peace. He had to leave the palace, as stipulated pre- 


Ja'ei fro- the R ajatmant ™ 

Vkwly, while rt waaat.lldark- At dawn the m-d came « 

^rhe ceremwalbed-efanlxrof the queen where the had 

, the night in company of her butbar.d *d*> *» complete- 
|vimpo**d upon by her make-up and unruapectmglr took 
hk 0*1. wife for the per** of the ‘mcon-faced and aahrer 
vo.ccd- queen. Habba Khatun’a *it no. only WOO the bean 
cf the huaband and wife, but alao gave her own name a glow 

till eternity. 


Yaqub Shah is Defeated 

THE dynasty of th. Sultans of Kashmir founded by Shahmir 
which included rulers of great prowess like Shahab-ud-Din and 
the illustrious Zainulabdin petered out and was succeeded by 
theChaks, descendant, ofLangar Chak who was. alongwith 
Rentchen and Shahmir. one of the three adventurers seeking 
refuge in Kashmir in the reign of Sahadeva in the 13th centurv 
For centuries in the past the periods of stable administration 
have been few and far between, and the rule of the Chaks was 
no exception. Laxity in administration reached its nadir in 
the reign of Yusuf Shah Chak who is better known on account 

° u 'I W »a e H L at>ba Khatun ' Man >' noblemen of Kashmir invi- 
ted the Mughal king Akbar to redeem them from the misfortune 

the rule of a pleasure-seeking sovereign. Akbar seized the 
opportunity and sent an army under Raja Bhagwandas. Yusuf 
hah made a show of res.stance for some time but finally capi¬ 
tulated and made obeisance to the Mughal emperor. 

The generals of Akbar who thought that with the acquie- 
scence of Yusuf Chak they had annexed Kashmir to the vast 
empire were proved wrong. Yaqub Shah Chak. Yusufs son 
and many patriotic nobles took it as an insult and kept the flag 

revot ymg. Many battles were fought and the imperial 

genemlsTfTkb “ skirmish - ^ugh the 

ITJ Z Y 0 bar PUt mt0 USe a)1 their resources Yaqub Shah 
nd his friends gave them no quarter. Srinagar offered allegi¬ 
ance to Yaqub Shah and the khutba was read m his name 

had defeatedThl M dld h n r Tf*" ** ^ A “ h ° U8h Ya ^ b 
pursued broueit i ® '’ ‘ He ^ The P oIici « he 

belonged to thl SK ? ‘ nternal d i“ensions. Chaks 

formulated with * faCt ‘° n by fa ‘‘ h a " d their P 01 **** were 
faction. Yaoub ShT *° P romotln S a lar 8 e following to their 
q ah w *elded greater zeal and vigour in this 


Tales from the Rajatarangwi 

direction to the extent of insulting and harming other section 
of the people. Unmindful of the enemy who was prowling < /T) 
hiR borders he resorted to harassing his own Sunni and Hindu 
subjects. As a consequence leading citizens of Kashmir inclu¬ 
ding the venerable Sheikh Baba Dawcod Khaki and Sheikh 
Yaqub Sarfi, poet and savant, approached Akbar and inviting 
him to annex Kashmir, assured him of their cooperation on the 
condition, that (i) his officers would not interfere in the religious 
practices of the people nor the rates of food stuffs (ii) no male 
or female slaves would be taken from amongst Kashmiris, (in) 
the people of Kashmir w'ould be spared levies, and other hard¬ 
ships, and (iv) the nobles of Kashmir who were involved in 
dissensions, uprisings and rioting would not be invested with 
authority. A charter drawn up to this effect was accepted by 

Akbar to which he affixed his seal 
The partisan zeal of the rulers and internal dimensions cl 1 maxec 
into a large-scale rioting in which the wrath was directed against 
the Shias. Their principal mosque at Zadibal was burnt to 
ashes. This was followed by acts of violence, arson and dese¬ 
cration against the Shia community in Srinagar. While this 
was happening in the valley, the imperial army marched from 
Delhi and reached the Pir Panchal range of mountains. In spite 
of local dissensions and defections, Yaqub Shah rallied a consi¬ 
derable army and rushed detachments to prevent an invasion of 
the valley from Poonch. He himself marched towards Herapora 
to meet the invaders. 

Herapora. originally Surapoie, is a place of great antiquity 
on the Mughal route from Gujrat to Bhimber Rajouri-Shopian 
and Srinagar. It was originally founded by Sura, the minister 
of Avantivarman in the 9th century and maintained as a military 
watch-station and customs post for centuries afterwards. Man> 
engagements have been fought at Herapore from time to time 
and it would not be out of place to call it the 'Panipat’ of the 
valley of Kashmir because on many occasions the fate of this 
valley has been decided there. Such was the case in 1587 A.D- 
when the Mughals finally overcame resistance to their invasion 
by patriotic Kashmiris. But it was destiny that actually deci- 

Yaqub Shah is Defeated 

detl the issue in favour of the Mughals. 

As said earlier, Yaqub Shah Chak marched to Herapore at 
the head of his army alongwith many brave and dev *ted nobles. 
Fierce fighting took place and heroes from both the armies could 
not bring the engagement to a decisive finish. In the mean¬ 
time, however, some of the subjects of Yaqub defected towards 
the Mughals and the Kashmiris began to feel that they were 
fighting against great odds. But this in no way made any diffe¬ 
rence and the issue still hung in the balance. 

At this stage destiny played its part in a very unobtrusive 
manner which had not been envisaged in the least. That day 
Yaqub Shah rode a mare in the battle-field. In the course of 
an engagement he felt like making water and had to come down 
from his charger for this purpose. Probably there was no atten¬ 
dant nearby to whom he could entrust the mare, or the ruler 
of Kashmir did not feel the need of calling an attendant for the 
purpose. In any case, he left the mare free whilst he eased 
himself. This was the moment that destiny seized to deal a 
decisive blow to the unfortunate ruler A charger from the 
lines of the Moghuls caught sight of the mare that had the dis¬ 
tinction of carrying the Kashmir ruler in the field. While their 
respective riders were engaged in a deadly encounter for mas* 
tery over the valley, the horse and the mare were involved in 
an amorous entanglement, and, totally indifferent to the needs 
of their riders, they rode across the field together before Yaqub 
Shah or any other person could prevent them. The forces of 
the Chak ruler of Kashmir were already disheartened owing to 
the many defections and other odds against them. They now 
saw the charger of their generalissimo running riderless and 
were driven to the conclution that their leader had either been 
killed or captured. They were plunged into gloom and despair 
and before anybody realised the truth they began to retreat to 
save their lives. The invading Moghuls completed their rout, 
marched towards Srinagar and planted their flag in the capita . 
Yaqub Shah lost the throne and fleeing to the south-east too 

refuge with the ruler of Kishtwar. 


An Emperor grows Jealous 

jEALOUSy, like constancy, is regarded as a hobgoblin of petty 
minds. Schiller calls it the magnifier of trifles ! Men in the 
common run grow jealous of one another over such paltry 
things as the filthy lucre, or power which is a passing shadow 
too. History has, however, shown that even kings and emperors 
have paid homage to the passion and the provocation in their 
case has by no means been different from what actuates 
humbler mortals. An earlier chapter recounts how the mighty 
Lalitaditya grew jealous of Pravapura or Srinagar, the city 
founded by Pravarasena, and in a fit of intoxication comman¬ 
ded that the city be reduced to ashes. Nine hundred years 
later another sovereign, a mightier emperor, when on a pleasure 
trip to Kashmir, opened his heart to allow the insidious passion 
of jealousy to coil in, and all because of a garden. 

Kashmir is a country eminently suited to the laying out of 
gardens. Kings, queens, ministers and nobles vied with one 
another in perpetuating memories individually with the help of 
a garden. History speaks of hundreds of such gardens that 
have now been wiped out of existence by the billows of time. 
Fortunately, however, some of the gardens laid out by the 
Mughals have survived and they shine as jewels on the person 

of the celestial nymph that is Kashmir. One of these is the 
ohalamar garden. 

There is a tradition that when Pravarasena laid the founda- 
ion of Srinagar at its new site near the hill of Hariparbat, 
esoug tt e blessings of a holy man named Sukarma Swami 
. ,° ‘ Ved n t ear the P resent village of Shalamar. Pravarasena 
m |} USe , Udt and a ® ar ^ en laid out at the spot for the holy 
at as it may, it was Jahangir who had the garden 


An Emperor grow* Jealous 

l«i<l out ut die spot m A I) iftjo and named it *l : arah fiakhsh’ 
(I ful). After hit demine Shall jahan had it extended, 

shaped it into terra, ea a* at present, and bestowed it with life 
m the form of the canal which feeds its tanks, fountains and 
(ascades. L thus became unrivalled in beauty, majesty and 
excellence, glittering with flowers, sparkling with sprays and 
warbling with song 

I he passion of the emperors for laying out gardens was, 
however, infectious and many a courtier and noble followed 
the example of the illustrious liege lord. In particular the 
shores of the Dal Lake in Srinagar were dotted with magnifi¬ 
cent gardens. Among them was the Nishat laid out three 
miles to the south of the Shalamar in A.D. 1934 by Asaf Jah, 
brother of the famous Noor Jahan, Asaf Jah was one of the 
two pillars of the Mughal empire under Shah Jahan, the other 
being Mahabat Khan, the commander-in-chief of the army. 

Asaf Jah was the prime minister and the emperor was married 
to his daughter. 

Asaf Jah s garden, the Nishat, resembled the emperor’s 
garden, the Shalamar, in many respects. Though it is broader, 
its length matches that of the Shalamar. Like the latter the 
Nishat also is laid out in terraces and contains pavilions. A 
canal flows centrally through both and the same stream from 
Harwan feeds the tanks and cascades in the two gardens. Grassy 
walks, majestic chinars and the back drop of hills are dis¬ 
tinctive features of both the gardens. Yet when Shah Jahan 
visited it in A.D. 1634 he feit that Asaf Jah’s garden, the 
Nishat, scored easily against his own. 

Such a distinction between the two gardens appears at first 
to be hard to reconcile. But a little reflection will help in 
explaining the apparent paradox. The Shalamar is linked with 
di< lake by a canal about a mile in length over which mighty 
chinars stand guard. The lake does not contribute significantly 
to the beauty of the garden which stands somewhat aloof and 
one has to regard it as an entity by itself. The Nishat is more 


/ alr% fynrn the Rojatflyanfnni 

fortunately loc.ted and the of the Dal almost h.„ 

•T* TT ^ which the garden 

roll, upward, 1 he beauty of the garden i. supplemented and 

complemented by ,h„ of the lake ; and both the garden and 

.he lake appear to be two facet, of the magnificent form of 

nature Tht. especially so in the morning when the garden 

br,M es w;,h shadow, and the ray, of the aun just be nd 


his feeling of enjoyment. Asaf Jah" his h * f *p* CXprc,slon t0 

The emperor repeated hi, appreciation.nd*^ h qUie “ y - 
accepted the compliment Th* V * the host mcrel Y 

**.. Mo 

a, mm „ „ B1W , h °, “-i“ h ■ 

mficence of the garden a third time But a c?u d mag ' 
guessed the emperor's motives remained a, tho^h^’ eVen ‘ f h * 
The emperor was filled with wrath like § unmstructed - 
Protege," he felt, "and yet impervious to my 

the strea from Ha™ "' hTJ* deCreed tka * 

for the Shalamar garden and prohibitedXuseontT TT 
any other purpose. When in accordance with th ^ 

decree the supply of wat ertothe Ntshat wi t heamperor ’ s 
turned into a waste land The life stream ' , k PPe , d ' lt was 
to flow and its heart stopped beating Th he . garden ceised 
the tanks exposed their bottoms of caked silt^Th ^ UP ^ 

es and ; he -Cctxs 

^ began to wf Jtd ^Zers t^^ ^ ^ 

oSi^ ah looked at ‘his festering S frame 
the emperor’s command \ ' 8Plrit had beCn chocked out under 
around and heaved d ^ • f W&S d ^ sma Y* He looked 

he had bestowed an ^ S1 u 8 ^ n ° ne tbose °hj e cts on which 

muc c are and devotion seemed to 


An Emperor grows Jealous 

respond to his h«*art. In a fit of dejection he sat under a tree 
am) extreme weariness of spirit weighed him down to slumber. 

The gardener observed how, under the impact of the empe¬ 
ror’s command, sorrow had made its way to the heart of his 
master and benumbed the spirit which, blithe and bonny, till 
but yesterday blossomed out in the midst of the garden. His 
master was alseep, but it was the slumber borne of frustration, 
helplessness and despair. The gardener could not stand this 
sight out of his loyalty to his master. He decided to restore 
the flow of water in spite of the emperor and was prepared to 
pay the price for it He turned the sluice at the head of the 
canal and restored the flow of water. 

The life stream of the garden being thus restored, it began 
to throb with life once again. The tanks began to heave and 
the ripples to smile. The fountains whistled, the cascades 
warbled and the birds of the air played a roundelay; and Aaaf 
Jah was awakened out of his slumber- The sight looked so 
unreal that he rubbed his eyes to ascertain if he was really 
awake. From the presence of the gardener closeby he under¬ 
stood what had happened, and he felt pleased for a moment. 
Then, at the thought of the emperor, a dread seized him. 
He upbraided the gardener and ordered him to stop the flow of 

Not withstanding the prompt action taken by Asaf Jah, the 
news reached the emperor’s ears. Swayed by rage he had the 
culprit produced before him. The gardener pleaded guilty to 
the charge. ’’Your Majesty”, he submitted with folded hands, 
“My master was overwhelmed with sorrow as he saw the garden 
deprived of water. This humble slave could not stand the sight 
of dejection on the face of hid masier and he was led to restor¬ 
ing the water to the canal despite, may dust fill this mouth. 
Your Majesty’s commands. This slave is guilty and deserves 
punishment. His reward lies in that he led his master out of 
sorrow and dejection, though for a brief time. 

The emperor was pleased with the defence put up by the 


Tales from the Rajataran^ni 

erring gardener. A deep sense of loyalty and devotion to hi 
master had provoked him to face the emperor s wrath and Shah 
Jahan was not a man to apply his decrees unimaginatively. 
The gardener’s devotion warmed his heart and he expressed 
his appreciation by conferring upon him a robe of honour. But 
the gardener’s readiness to make sacrifice hag won for Kashmir 
a peerless piece of art in the shape of the Nishat. Bereft of 
water it would have withered, been foresaken and perhaps 
brought under the plough. Moved by the gardener’s example 
the emperor issued a decree granting the use of water from the 
Harwan stream in perpetuity to the garden of Asaf Jah. Thus 
the Nishat was resurrected and saved from being turned into a 
wilderness, and during the last three centuries it has continued 
to throb w'ith life, to smile and exercise its bewitching charms 
on all those who go there and pay their homage to the “pleasure 


Ali Martian’s Treasure 

kS- A'S a, r nneX : d KaShm!r l ° their Cmpire in India in 
15. /, A. D., thus putting an end to the sovereignty of tho ru l 

Wh ° ' ke , th ' ir . prcdecessors - ‘he Sultans descended from Shah* 
mir, had their roots in the soil of the vallev The m k* 

Mughals lavished a great deal of care over the new acquisition 
and constituted it mto a separate province. It was admL te ed 

^r £rn0r COmmandmg tHe COnfiden “ of ‘he emperor 

The old Mughal road from Delhi to Kashmir through 
Lahore, Gujrat. Bh.mber, Rajori and across the Pir Panchal fo 
Shopian and Srinagar was patronised by the emperors since al- 
most the visit of Akbar himself. It was, however, Ali Mardan 
Khan who turned it mto a highway. He built rest houses, inns 
and hospices at different stages en 1 oute under the command of 
emperor Shah Jahan. He also laid out a spacious garden near 
1 elbal and constructed a pavillion therein. 

Though Ali Mardan was directly responsible for the ad¬ 
ministration of the province of Kashmir, he did not want to 
expose himself to the rigours of cold in the valley. Every year 
he left the valley on the approach of winter which he passed in 
Lahore. At the advance of spring he returned to the valley 
w ich was looked after in his absence by his deputies. He is 
said to have spent lakhs of rupees on his sojourn to Lahore and 
back even as a king would do. In the valley itself he maintain¬ 
ed a right royal household, spending lavishly. The tales of 
his munificence reached far and wide. 

A provincial govemer under the Mughals enjoyed great 
power and prestige. He also had the means of ‘enriching him- 
se f beyond the dreams of avarice.* Even then the wealth and 


Tale* from th* Raiataranfini 

luxury displayed by Ali Mardan Khan surprised all conjectural 
estimates 'Mow can Ali Mardan afford to be so careless in 
expending wealth 7 the fellow-nobles asked. The question was 
repeated by curious tongues to inquisitive ears till the secret 
was fathomed: "Ali Mardan is the privileged possessor of a 
fabulous treasure !" 

So he was, indeed. He should, infact, not have migrated 
to India but for the treasure. Originally he was the governor of 
Kandahar under Shah Safvi of the Abba Sayed dynasty when 
he is said to have come by a hidden treasure. Every such 
treasure belongs to the sovereign and Ali Mardan was morally 
bound to surrender the treasure to Shah Safvi. He chose not 
to do so. It was probably because he got possession of it not 
by accident but after a taxing mental struggle, physical daring 
and masterly execution during the course of which he was ex¬ 
posed to grave danger. On this account he must have justified 
to himself the retention of the treasure. But he was sagacious 
enough to foresee that the king’s spies would ultimately stumble 
upon this secret and put the sovereign wise on the matter. That 
meant death in all probability; dismissal was inevitable. Ali 
Mardan relinquished his office of prestige in Kandahar and like 
many others of his brethren migrated to India where he suc¬ 
ceeded in securing the patronage of the emperor. In India he 
was out of the long arm of mediaeval punishment of the Ab- 
basyed king. 

How did Ali Mardan secure the treasure ? The account 
reads like a fairy tale One day while he was sojourning in the 
countryside he met a shepherd who tended his flock by the 
slope of the hillock in front of them. As an administrator in¬ 
terested in the affairs of the subjects entrusted to him Ali 
Mardan asked the shepherd if all was well with him. The 
latter replied with a sigh that though all was well with his 
person things were certainly wrong with his flock. He narrated 
to him how every morning one or two of his flock were found 
nuaung and submitted that if nothing was done to help him, 
his flock would disappear before long. 

15 % 

Ati Mardan’i Trtaiur* 

Th.. provoked the o-werno,', eurionity ,„,| he decided to 
poreoe the metier. Inqt.irie. reve.led thet e python who lived 
,n e . eve nre.hy prowled out every night end tlevoured eever.l 
lemhe. Ali Merdan wee e.irpri.ed to hear it and decided to 
verify it for himeelf Hie pereonal obeervation corroborated 
thcatory end allayed hie earlier diehelief. There i. along- 
trending belief that wherever a python takea ita abode a for¬ 
gotten treasure ie sure to be found nearby. Ali Mardan forgot 
the ehepherd for the moment and pursued the matter in this 
light, l.vcry detail pointed towards the probability of the 
emstence of a treasure, and contributed to the jubilation of 
the seeker. The governor made up his mind to look into the 
t-avc for the treasure and to obtain it. 

I lie first an 1 the last obstacle in his way was the python 
whose very breath was so poisonous that it charred everything 
even at a considerable distance. There was, therefore, no ques¬ 
tion of Ali Mardan or any other warrior risking an armed 
encounter with the python. But the sagacious governor resor¬ 
ted to a simple stratagem, based probably on the inventive 
fancy of some writer of fairy tales. He had several lambs 
killed and their skins were carefully packed with unslaked lime 
so as to resemble living sheep in every respect. They were 
placed in the way of the python. When the latter advanced 
from its cave at night in search of its food, it came upon the 
dummies and devoured them unsuspectingly as Ali Mardan 
had envisaged. The python next proceeded to a rill to slake 
its thirst. No sooner did this water come into contact with 
the lime than it burst causing immense heat which resulted 
in the death of the python. 

The next day Ali Mardan went into the cave with due 
caution and was pleased to observe with his own eyes on im¬ 
mense treasure, said to have been left by Qai Qawus. It 
consisted of gold, precious stones and pearls. Ali Mardan 
appropriated the treasure to himself, migrated to India and 
became Shah Jahan's governor of Kashmir. He won the hearts 
of people with hit munificence. 


A Communal Riot 

imp neoole inhabiting the valley of the Jbelum are regarded a, 

™tle merciful and peaceloving. Their achievement. >n 
gentle, merci ^ architecture, industry, rehg.on 

literature and poe * ^ feaching 8 high watermark of 

and J embodyin g tolerance and peaceful 

perfection. 1 neir of jiving dear to diffe- 

co-existence is a synt es.s f js jn Kashmir that the shnnes 

rent communities and rac stand at the same spot. 

of Mahakali and Mir Syed All to the 

The Predimana Petha of «£*£*£* Makhdum , a great 
Hindus, was also chosen by Sheikh Ham qq ^ 

Muslim saint, for his meditatmm ^n , remar kable 

southern slope of the hill. tausht the world the 

sense of unity in their diverse faiths and taught h 

lesson of oneness realized by their saints through 

“’tTih.^l.r Kashmir has b« ^ 
throughout the centuries. Apart from political 
uprisings, invasions and military revolts, quite a ew ^ 

nal riots have taken place at various times and t ousan ^ 
innocent people have suffered. In the past the Paisacas ,, 
and the Aryans were intolerant of one another; the Bu 
and non-Buddhists did not always bear the friendliest re a 
tions ; Avantivarman (857-84 A.D.) concealed to his dying da> 
that he was a worshipper of Vishnu ; and in the middle ages 
the Shia Sunni differences were not unoften the cause of civil 

commotion and riots provoked by insignificant and fiims> 

Chdgmally the Muslim ruling class in Kashmir was Sunni. 
edr »er chapter it has been mentioned that three foreig* 


A Communal Riot 

nets sought refuge in the valley in the reign ofSuhadeva, the 
last Hindu King, viz. Rentechen Shah, Shahmir and hangar 
Chak. The descendants of Langar Chak were Shias and when 
Cihazi C hak supplanted Nazuk Shah, the last ruling descendant 
of Shahmir on the throne of Kashmir, the Shia faith received a 
fillip. Even before that the Shia faith had acclaimed many 
converts with the arrival from Khorasan of Mir Shams Iraqi, 
in i486 A.D., who consolidated the Shia community at Zadibal, 
near the capital of Zain-ul-abdin. Since then, and particularly 
after the accretion of strength the Shias got during the reign 
of the Chaks, a number of conflicts between the two sects of 
Muslims took place. In the course of the conflicts the mosque 
of the Shias together with the mausoleum of Mir Shamsuddin 
Iraqi were razed to the ground, the remains of the Mir were 
exhumed from the grave which was ploughed over and a good 
deal of suffering caused to innocent men, women and children. 
On one occasion a riot was provoked when early in summer 
people had gone to Maisuma, island in the Amirakadal- 
Residency road area of Srinagar, to delight their mouths with 
the taste of newly grown mulberries. On another occasion a 
Shia-Sunni riot was spearheaded on account of some differences 
over the allocation of rush-mattresses from the produce of 
nearby marshlands. Given below is the account of a minor 
incident developing into a Shia-Sunni-Hindu riot which 
brought the wrath of the emperor in Delhi on the adminis¬ 
trators, led to hundreds of deaths and ended with the erstwhile 
ringleaders dangling on improvised gibbets. 

In 1719 A.D. the emperor in Delhi conferred the title of 
Mahtavi Khan on one Mulla Abdul Nabi. He became the 
chief justice of Kashmir with the designation of Sheik ul- 
Islam. He was also granted an estate in Kashmir and he 
appointed a Pandit of Kashmir to look after it. One day the 
later went to the office of revenue administration to have 
certain minor matters pertaining to the estate set right. Pro¬ 
bably some entries had to be corrected. The clerks in the 
revenue office, who were mostly Kashmiri Pandits, demanded 


Tales from the Rajatarangini 

some tips or gratification as usual in such offices. The mana. 
ger's vanity was injured by this demand from the estate of K the 
head of the administration of justice. To be brief, his refusal 
resulted in non-cooperation from the clerks leading to a dead¬ 
lock. altercation and exchange of foul and provocative words 
on both sides. The estate manager, to vindicate his amour 
propre and have the lazy quill drivers brought to book, repor¬ 
ted the matter to the mighty Sheik-ul-Islam in language that 
was exaggerated, unrestrained, mischievous and provoking. 

The Sheikh was enraged as the manager of his estate 
expected. But in awarding punishment to the clerks he far 
overshot the mark. Instead of taking to task the humble erring 
clerks the Sheikh sought retaliation against every votary of the 
faith to which they belonged. He theiefore issued a decree 
against the Hindu residents of Kashmir, without discrimination, 
prohibiting their appearance on horseback in public, the 
use by them of turban as head-gear, and the admission of 
Hindu children in schools. They were ordered to use grass 
sandals instead of leather shoes and the Jazia tax, imposed on 
the non-Muslims in a Muslim theocratic state, which had been 
abolished by Zam-ul-abdin three hundred years earlier, was 
re-imposed upon them. 

The Sheikh-ul-Islam asked the governor Mir Ahmad Khan, 

to have the decree implemented. As an administrator the 

latter saw no way of giving effect to the harsh terms of the 

decree and it must be said in tairness that many muftis finter- 

preters of Islamic law) and maulvis (people learned in the law) 

held that the decree was uncalled for. Before the governor 

could take any steps the matter reached the ears of the unruly 

elements in the city of Srinagar. Having failed in their attempt 

to persuade the governor to take drastic measures against 

the non-Muslims as desired by the Sheikh and endorsed by 

them the rabble were so excited emotionally that they took the 

law into their own hands and started a persecution of the 


A Communal Riot 

A leading banker of the age was Majlis Rai. He is said 
to have deposited a crore of rupees with the state treasury and 
thus attained the exalted office of the state treasurer. He was 
proceeding from his palatial mansion at Nawa Bazar to his 
factory at Sarafkadal when the rioters waylaid him near Zaina- 
kadal. He was pulled down from his mount, his turban be* 
coming a lasoo round his own neck, humiliated and belaboured. 
When they had enough of their sport, they left him to his own 
fate. He pulled himself up and approached the head of the 
administration. The latter very much regretted the outburst of 
lawlessness and appointed a few guards to escort him. 

Majlis Rai felt that his prestige had been vindicated and 
he went back to his house The unruly crowd, unfortunately, 
again confronted him on his wayback. When the escort tried 
to give him protection against his assailants, the latter gave the 
guards short shrift and, with spirits buoyed up thus, tackled 
the venerated treasurer. He was subjected to extreme physical 
torture and so severely injured that he passed away the 
same day. He had hardly enough life to have destroyed all 
agreements executed by his debtors worth 24 lakhs of rupees 
before he breathed his last in pain and agony caused by his 
bleeding wounds. 

The rioters did not stop here. They set ablaze the residen¬ 
tial mansion and factory of Majlis Rai. They also extended 
this fanatical frenzy and mischief to cover other Hindus who 
thus became victims of rioting and arson, suffered from humi¬ 
liation, assault and other offshoots of lawlessness. Mir Ahmad 
Khan, the governor, taken completely by surprise by the ex¬ 
treme turn the situation had taken was at his wit s end. 
Mahtavi Khan, the prime instigator of rioting, hid himself in 
the Khanqahi Mauba and the troops patrolled the area mould¬ 
ing Kalashpora, Nail Kadal and Zaina Kadal The atmosphere 
was so surcharged with fanaticism, panic and tension that 
even common people, ordinarily sober and peace-loving, joined 
their hands with the rioters against the adm'nistration. Childern 
and adults welcomed soldiers with On the high roads 


Talc* from the Rajatarangini 

sober housewives showered on the heads of soldiers all 
could become lethal in effect, viz., a mill-stone, mortor 
pestle for husking paddy, bags heavily filled with earth or ashe^ 
a stone or even a heavy door panel. The soldiers could not 
fight against a whole people up in arms in this wise and the 
rioters capped their achievements when they caused the death 
by drowning in the canal at Nayad Kadal of scores of soldiers 
so that even the flow of water was obstructed. Arson, death 
and destruction were stalking abroad and Srinagar was vir¬ 
tually turned into hell with flames jigging and shooting in all 

The tidings travelled down to Delhi and Mir Ahmad Khan 
was deprived of his exalted office. His sucessor Abdullah 
Khan proved no better and was replaced by Momin Khan. 
When the new head of the administration had reached Herapora, 
Mahtavi Khan went to the house of one Shapur Khan Bakhshi/ 
a Shia gentleman, probably in order to create a stronger front 
against the administration. It appears that by this time many 
people had realised the extreme gravity of the situation caused 
by the Sheikh«ul-Islam and wanted to allay the frankenstein. 
Accordingly, some nobles laid a plot and Mahtavi Khan was 
killed in the house of his friend. 

This was the signal for the gateway of hell to open afresh 
and this time the Shia community came in for especial atten¬ 
tion at the hands of their erstwhile Sunni comrades and colla¬ 
borators. The fanatical mob raided Zadibal. the stronghold of 
the Shias and resorted to rioting, killings and arson. Men. 
women and children fell victim to its wrath indiscriminately. 
Neither the grey hair of the aged, nor the innocence of the 

ted to h* T Wm any con ««i°n. Women were subjec- 
their worn r ° U ‘ | an u l ‘ nhUman sadism - Shias assembled 

eum ofT XI Ch ‘ ldren Whhin the Poises of the mauso- 
Wbe«« 1 K a T dm Iraqi wh “« ‘^y felt they could 
ablaze and ances ° security. But the mob set the shrine 

either in flan!* 1 ”" 0118 Pr£tty women and tender children died 
flames or on account of suffocation. Says the historian 



A Communal Riot 

“(treat God 1 the Shias had never been subjected to such He,, 
truction and heart-rending plight. Within a couple of hours 
all their houses, property, chattels and their dependents were 
lost and their honour tattered to smithereens”. 

The mob got Mulla Ashraf-ud-din, son of Mahtavi Khan 
out of his hiding and exalted him to be Sheik-til-Islam in plare 
ct his lather, and the tide of rioting continued to swell 
Even Mom in Khan, the governor third in succession, failed in 
his attempt to stem it. Consequently the Mughal viceroy, 
Inayat Ullah Khan, was dismissed and replaced by Saif*ul-doula 
Abdus Sarnad Khan. The disturbance and civil commotion 
continued unabated till the Saif-ud-daulla entered the valley at 
the head of an army of veterans in 1721 A.D. 

The new viceroy resorted to diplomacy in arresting Mulla 
Ashraf-ud-din and his close associates. They were decapita¬ 
ted forthwith. The leaders of the mob received punishment 
commensurate with their crime and even leading citizens were 
fined or penalized for their failure to exercise their moral and 
social prestige against the rebels. It is said that the bodies of 
as many as fifty rioters remained dangling on improvised 
gibbets days together from Nayad Kadal to Khoja Yarbal, 
the state prison. The Hindus were once again permitted and 
encouraged to wear the turban, ride ponies and appear in 
decent and dignified costumes in accordance with their tradi¬ 
tion and custom. Order was thus restored after a year turd a 
half The demon of rioi ing was provoked by an insignificant 
and frivilous incident but was not crushed till it claimed thou- 
sands of innocent and venerable lives. 




I’.ithan* Annex Kashmir 

ThF Mughal* conquered Kashmir in 1587 A D Many leaders 
of the Kaahmin people had accorded to Akbar an invitation to 
nd them of miagovernment at the hands of theChak ru!e-s. Even 
then it ua* no walk over for the veteran generals of the Mughal 
emperor to establish their suzerainty here. The Kashmiris put 
up a strong resistance under Yaqub Chak and the Mughals had 
to pay heavily till chance finally stamped the shame of defeat 
on the forehead of the last Chak sovereign. 

Successive Mughal emperors, princes and noblemen were 
proud ot Kashmir. But when the central authority in Delhi 
became feeble, the governors and viceroys of provinces on the 
periphery came to have second thoughts regarding their loyalty. 
Accordingly, when Nadir Q hah led an invading force from Iran 
to India on the pretext that Shah Tahmasp, his ancestor, had 
loaned a large sum of money to Humayun which had not been 
repaid, many noblemen wielding authority on behalf of the 
Mughal emperor welcomed him. Among them was the viceroy 
of Lahore who presented the Durrani invader thirty lakhs of 
rupees and continued to hold his office on his behalf. A simi¬ 
lar offer of allegiance was made to Nadir Shah by Fakhr-ud- 
Doula who had just then (i.e.17^7) been relieved of his office as 
viceroy of Kashmir on behalf of the Mughal emperor. 

Nadir Shah accepted the proferred allegiance and conferred 
upon bakhr-ud-Doula the warrant of appointment as v iceroy of 
Kashmir on his behalf. The latter enlisted the support of the 
people of the surrounding hills and entered Kashmir with a 
view to fighting the Mughal viceroy Anayat Ullah and having 
the khutba read and coins struck in the name of Nadir Shah, 
ut the native masses Hared up in revolt against the invader 


Pnthans Annex Kashmir 

from across the Indian frontier. Fakhr-ud-Doula was helpless 
and felt humiliated when Mohammad Shah and Nadir Shah 
buried the hatchet. Inspite of this, however, the unrealised 
ambitions of the Durrani caused considerable bloodshed, arson 
and rapine, particularly in the city. 

The next attempt made by the Afghans to annex Kashmir 
to their kingdom also proved abortive. After the muider of 
Nadir Shah Durrani in 1747 A.D., Ahmad Shah Abdali secured 
suzerainty over Kabul and cis-Khyber territory. His viceroy- 
in Peshawar made fervent overtures to the Mughal viceroy 
of Kashmir and to many nobles to transfer their allegiance, 
knowing full well that the Mughals had grown effete and emas¬ 
culated. Several nobles of Kashmir were only too glad to get 
this opportunity of welcoming a different ruler and they wrote 
encouraging letters to Abdali. They assured him that they 
w ould deliver the Mughal viceroy with his handful of troops 
into the hands of the Afghan viceroy the moment the latter 

Encouraged by these secret overtures the Afghans sent inva¬ 
ding forces under one Asmat Ullah Khan in H. 1161 (i.e. 1747 
A D.) He was assisted by Mahadus Khan who was eager to 
avenge the death of his father Mahtavi Khan,* a former Sheikh- 
ul-Islam. After several fierce engagements which led to vary¬ 
ing results, the Afghan leader w r as shot dead and the invaders 

were routed. 

Four years later, in 17S 1 * Muqeem Kanth, a local 
nobleman, became the head of the Mughal administration in 
Kashmir. He made a good start. Before long, however, he 
interfered with the organisation ot the troops. A revolt are 
up, he lost his office and began to wander. Later m the same 
year when Ahmad Shah Durrani came to Lahore. Mir Muqeem 
Kanth approached him with an invitation to conquer as 

The Durrani king was waiting for just one such . ' 

When his general Abdullah Khan Acshaq Aqas. entered 

•See chapter 40. 


/ < i/m from the Rajatarangim 

■' lhr of * n inva,lin « Mir Muqeem welcomed 
him. An eng.gomeni was fought for fifteen day. withom 

^.ion of hi. general to the and the dimension, of the nobles the Mughal vbero, 

had to .utrender and Ka.hmir became a part of the 

kmRdon, beyond the Khyber pa.s. For the first time Kashmir 

apart ofan em P' r « which wa. ruled from a place 
beyond the frontiers of the Indian sub-continent. Abdullah 

>an n turned to Kabul alter six months’ vice-royalty with a 
crorc of rupees. 

Afghan rule in Kashmir unleashed oppression and 
tyranny condemned by historians of the period uniformly. The 
ghans were assisted by some nobles of Kashmir, especially 
uqeem Kanth. Soon another chance occurred for the 
people of Kashmir to shake off the tyranny of the Durranis and 
tmk themselves once again with the Mughals. Of the three 
parties concerned, viz., the Durranis, the Mughals and the 
Kashtmns, the Durranis were oppressively hostile to this move, 
the Mughals paid no heed and the Kashmiris were divided. 
As a result the revolt ended in smoke and the Durranis only 
strengthened their stranglehold. It happened thus. 

In 1748 Sukh Jewan Mai succeeded to the viceroyalty of 
Kashmir under the Durranis. He was intelligent and capable 
and was ably assisted by Abul Hassan Khan Banday who be¬ 
came his minister. He suppressed all attempts at revolt and his 
minister Abul Hassan successfully combated a severe famine. 
People were apparently happy and prosperous, for even now 
they talk wistfully of ‘wakti Svkh Joo\ or the good old 
times under Sukh Jewan Mai. Those nobles who did not 
enjoy power or authority felt unhappy and wanted to foment 
trouble to grind their own axes. Among them was Mir 
Muqeem Kanth. 

Just then Sukh Jewan withdrew his allegiance from the 
Durranis and directed his people to read the khutba at the 
Friday prayers in the name of the emperor of Delhi. In order 


Pathans Annex Kashmir 

to precipitate matters Mir Muqeem is said to have weakened 
the home front by sowing dissensions between Sukh Jewan 
and his minister Hassan which led to the incarceration 
of the latter and Mir Muqeem became the minister instead. 
Events took a series of turns in which Mir Muqeem and 
Abul Hassan shuttled between the prison and the ministry. 
The fabric of the society was weakened in these conspiracies 
and dissensions. A punitive expedition arrived from Kabul 
which received the active co-operation of the dissidents. In 
the battle that ensued Sukh Jewan’s general Bakht Mai defec¬ 
ted to the Durranis. Sukh Jewan was defeated, captured, 
blinded and trampled under elephants in Kabul. The Mughals 
made no show of sympathy or assistance to their ally Sukh Jewan 
and Kashmir relapsed into a colony of the Afghan empire of 
Kabul till 1819 A. D. 


The Koh-i-Noor 

FE'V precious stones have had such a chequered and exciting 
history as the Kohinoor, ‘the mountain of light’. It is said to 
have been extracted from the diamond mines of Golcanda in 
the mediaeval ages and is first mentioned in history when its 
owners, the family of Raja Bikramjit Singh, presented it to 
Humayun in 1526 for chivalrously protecting them during 
Babur’s conquest of India. The jewel was lost to the Mughal 
ruling family, probably when Humayun fell on evil days, but 
was recovered by Aurangzeb when as viceroy of the Deccan he 
seized it from Golcanda state in 1656 A.D. and sent it as a 
present to his father. It continued in the possession of the 
Mughals till 1739 A.D. when Nadirshah sacked Delhi and took 
the Kohinoor from the emperor Mohammad Shah. The jewel 
passed from Kabul to Lahore, the capital of the Sikhs where 
from it was gained by the British in 1846 A.D. Kashmir is 
responsible for one chapter in the eventful history of the 
Kohinoor, viz, how it was secured by Ranjit Singh, the Sikh 
ruler of the Punjab. 

After the murder of Nadirshah in 1747 A D. the hegemony 
of the trans-Khyber regions passed into the hands of Ahmad 
Shah Durrani, better known as Abdali. He was succeeded by 
his son Taimur Shah. Taimur Shah had seven sons: Abbas, 
Humayun, Mahmud, Zaman, Shuja-ul-Mulk, Shapur and 
Feroze, but Zaman Shah succeeded him to the throne. From 
time to time one of his brothers or another raised a revolt 
against Zaman Shah. The most turbulent among the clai¬ 
mants to the throne was Mahmud, while the king had greater 
trust in Shuja-ul-Mulk than in anyone else. After ten years of 
rule Zaman Shah was overthrown and blinded in 1807 A.D. by 


The Koh-i-Noor 

Mahmud and Shuja, Zaman'a brother, was forced to flee the 

A scries of political Somersaults by princes royal, ministers 
and feudal chieftains occurred and Shuja Shah successfully 
overthrew the ruling king Mahmud who was blinded in the 
manner in which he had deprived his brother Zaman Shah of 
his sight. In this revolution Shuja relied chiefly on the help 
of Sher Mohamad Khan, Mukhtar-ud-Doula. At that time 
Multan, Kashmir. Peshawar, and other cis-Indus states of 
India owed allegiance to Kabul. 

Shuja appeared to make a good start with the help of the 
Mukhtar-ud-Doula in administering the empire firmly When 
the viceroy of Kashmir, Abdullah Khan, withdrew his 
allegiance, the Mukhtar-ud Doula brought him to heel and ap¬ 
pointed his own son Atta Mohamad Khan to head the adminis¬ 
tration there. Events took another turn when the minister 
Mukhtar-ud-Doula incurred the wrath of Shuja and was dis¬ 
missed. As a result the former supported the claim of another 
prince Qaisar to the throne The armies of the two contestants 
clashed in Peshawar. Qaisar was defeated and the Mukhtar- 
ud-Doula lost his life in the field. 

When Atta Mohammad, the viceroy of Kashmir and gover¬ 
nor of the fort of Attock, heard the news of the death of his 
father Sher Mohamad Khan, he withdrew his allegiance from 
Shuja Shah and repelled a punitive force. 1 his v\ as the first 
of a series of reverses for Shuja Shah. In 1810A.D, he lost 
Kabul and the territory beyond the Khyber to his brothers. 
Having raised his head in Peshawar he was defeated by Azim 
Khan, brother of Fateh Khan Wazir and later viceroy of 
Kashmir. One more attempt on his part to regain Peshawar 
failed and in 1812 A.D. Shuja ul-Mulk was forced to seek the 
protection of Maharaja Panjit Singh in Talanbiya in the dis¬ 
trict of Ludhiana. His lieutenants Jahandad Khan and Saman- 
dar Khan loyally kept by his side. 

The misfortunes of Shuja Shah had yet to give him the 


Pales from the Raj afar an ftm 

wortt stroke. Atta Mohammad, the viceroy of Kashmir, thought 
this to he the most opportune time to fulfil his longing for 
revenge against the dismissal and death of his father Mukhtar- 
ud-Doula. He laid a trap for the exiled king. He sent Pandit 
Nand Ram Ticku, a Kashmiri who had attained great eminence 
in Kabul, and his own brother to invite hah Shuja to Kashmir. 
The latter, perhaps allured by the offer of assistance by Atta 
Mohammad in regaining the throne at Kabul or in Kashmir, 
walked into the trap. Counting without the host, he came to 
Kashmir in 1812 A.D. and was promptly incarcerated in the 
fortress on the apex of Hari Parbat hill which had been erected 
the previous year After this Atta Mohammad had the fort of 
Attock reinforced to prevent fresh punitive forces from Kabul 
approaching anywhere near Kashmir. 

This gave a provocation to Fateh Mohammad Khan, the 
Wazir of Kabul, who thought it fit to humble the viceroy and 
led an expedition in 1813 A.D. Having reached the banks of 

the Attock he entered into a pact for assistance with Ranjit 
Singh. The latter himself cast longing eyes on Kashmir and 
was all too willing to send his troops to the valley on one pre¬ 
text or another. In return for a present of eight lakhs of 
rupees annually the Maharaja sent ten thousand troops under 
his general, Mohakam Chand, to assist Fateh Mohammad in 
invading Kashmir against the rebel Atta Mohammad. When 
toe latter was defeated he invested all authority in the hands 
of h‘s erstwhile captive Shuja-ul-Mulk, formerly Shah Shuja. 

\\; UJa \ “f ab ° Ut orgamsln § resistance against the foe, the 
azir o abul, who had originally driven him out of Kabul 

dit H 7 r.r the ° Ut8kirtS 0f Srinagar - But Shuja was 
the hlf h ’ s charger immobilised with a nail through 

£ venf’him7 ng “ ^ * *** ttrth * This ™ obviously to 
Wazir Offi "Y tePP ' ng ° Ut and i° inin § hands with the 
the advancin^w" • men ^ Ua Mohammad, however, greeted 
isolated H ^ ° ne a ^ er an °ther and the former was 

citadel of Sh °°K- Sheher alongwith Shuja-ul-Mulk in the 

1 ° fShergarhl Amirakadal and the invading army 


Tht Knh-i Nonr 

nmpfd near Chhstubal. 

I r inding no mran. of retiring their rflc,*.. Atta Mohammad 
an.) Sh,„a jointly decided to approach Dewan Mohakam Chand 
accreily. Atta Mohammad aolemnly promited to hand over 
the fortreaa of Attock which was still under hit control to the 
nominee" of Kanjit Singh if he escaped unscathed from the trap 
of the Wazir, and Shuja-ul-Mulk promised to present to the 
Maharaja the unique jewel Kohinoor as the price of his release 
The jewel obviously came to him from Ahmad Shah Abdali 
and Nadirshah who had secured it from Mohammad Shah, the 
Mughal emperor of Delhi. 

Having accepted the terms of the fugitives, Mohakanv Chand 
raised on his own the siege of the citadel of Shergarhi an& the 
two took shelter with him. The next day Mohakam Chtad 
secured the release of Atta Mohammad from the Wazir after 
the ex-viceroy had made presents to him of faked up jewels . 
On his way to Kabul alongwith a treasure of diamonds and 
precious metals Atta Mohammad surrendered the fortress of 
Attock to the feudatories of Ranjit Singh. 

Dewan Mohakam Chand also left the valley in the hands 
of Wazir Fateh Mohammad Khan and returned to the court 
of Lahore alongwith the fugitive prince Shuja-ul-Mulk. The 
latter spent considerable time in Lahore. At first he hesitated 
to surrender the Kohinoor even though solemnly prom>sed in 
Srinagar. According to Baron Von Schonberg, a friend of 
prince Sher Singh, the Sikh Maharaja had exerted considerable 
pressure on the Begum of the Afghan prince even before the 
arrival of Shuja-ul-Mulk in Lahore. Ultimately, a Uttie pres¬ 
sure from his host having made Shuja realise the futility ot 
going back upon his word, he presented the jewel and was 
permitted to depart. He made a renewed attempt to gain a 
foothold in Kashmir but it all ended in smoke. He roamed a 
fugitive till Lord Auckland, governor^general of India, befriend¬ 
ed him and restored him to Kabul in 1839 


The Afghans are Ousted 

In an earlier chapter it has been indicated how some nobles of 
Kashmir invited the Afghans who replaced the Moghuls as 
rulers of the valley. Considering the subsequent crumbling of 
the Mughal empire it will easily be conceded that Kashmir was 

bound to secede from Delhi. The local nobles helped the 
Durranis to step in. 

In the course of time the authority in Kabul grew weak. 
Ahmad Shah was succeeded by Taimur Shah. At the death of 
the latter in 1792 A D. a fierce struggle | for the throne of Kabul 
followed between several of his sons who were seven in number. 
At first Zaman Shah had the upper hand. He was later over- 
thrown and blinded by Mahmud Shah who himself had to yield 
p.ace to Shuja-ul-Mulk. In this struggle for power the Durrani 
kingdom weakened while Ranjit Singh was growing progres- 
sr.ely stronger in the Panjab. Historians are of the opinion that 
Kashmir was, under these circumstances, bound to pass out of 
the Durrani net and come under the suzerainity or tutelege of 
the Sikhs. The people of Kashmir, however, became the ins¬ 
truments of historical forces and drove the Afghans out of the 
valley which hastened their exit from the sub-continent of India. 

That good government is no substitute for self-government 

“ °i d u ad x a f ‘ The Kashmiris ’ eager for self-government, 
esisted the Mughals pretty long. The Moghul rule was very 

^ m C ° mPari83n Whh that of the Afghan, The latter 

fresh taxes aTd every Afghan 0ppression ' They imposed 

* the end of his term c retUrnlng t0 hls homeland 

ruoees A , catried tre «ure* worth millions of 

* A UX Was lm E*»ed on fruit trees and hundreds of 


The Afghans are Ousted 

orchards fell under the axe owing to the inability of the owners 
to pay the tax. Kvery suitor was required to deposit a fee equal 
to one fourth of the value of the property under dispute. On 
another occasion a new viceroy on his way to Srinagar spied a 
coffin being borne by a few men to the graveyard The viceroy 
had the party stopped and getting the boJy out of the coffin 
shouted in the cars of the dead man: “Convey to the land 
where you are going that they should keep enough accommo¬ 
dation for the people I, the new viceroy of Kashmir, may des¬ 
patch there.” When one Afghan viceroy Azad Khan was rep¬ 
laced by another Madad Khan, the Kashmiris coined an epigram 
jor-i azid ra madad raeeed meaning that the tyranny of Azad 
has been intensified (by Madad). Needless to say that Kashmiris 
suffered under oppression, were far from happy and would 
not let go an opportunity to revolt against the aliens. The first 
attempt made by Sukh Jewan Mai in 1762 A.D. was ultimately 
quelled. But at the turn of the century with shift in the balance 
of power between Kabul, Punjab and Kashmir, events appeared 
to be more favourable. 

The developments that took place outside Kashmir have 
already been hinted at. In 1814 A. D. Atta Mohamad Khan, 
the revolting viceroy of Kashmir, escaped to Kabul with the 
help of Dewan Mohakam Chand, Ranjit Singh’s general. While 
Fateh Mahammad, the prime minister of Kabul under Mahmud 
Shah, was able to retain Kashmir in the Durrani kingdom, he 
had been obliged to make the commitment to pay eight lakhs 
of rupees annually to Ranjit Singh. The latter had also managed 
to secure the Kohinoor from Shaja-ul-Mulk and the fortress of 
Attock from Atta Mohammad. Fateh Mohammad planted his 
brother Azim Khan as the viceroy of Kashmir, returned to 
Kabul and jealous of Ranjit’s growing powers, refused to ful¬ 
fil his engagement about eight lakhs of rupees. Ranjit Singh 
got a pretext for war. He had already won over the chieftains 
of Bhimber and Rajouri across the Pir Pantsal. Now. in spite 
of the advice of his aged general Mohakam Chand to the con¬ 
trary, he sent an expedition into Kashmir in 1814 A.D. 


Tales from the R ajatarangim 

Azim Khan, the Afghan viceroy of Kashmir, was by no 
means a novice. He had taken part in engagements in Peshawar 
and Afghanistan. He deployed his troops so well that the 
Sikhs, oppressed no doubt by inclement weather, had to beat 
a retreat and Ranjit Singh returned to Lahore, crest * fallen, 
from the Tosamaidan pass. 

In this armed encounter the people of Kashmir played no 
significant part and simply obeyed the behests of the Afghan 
viceroy Azim Khan. Incensed with victory against Ranjit Singh 
whose troops had repulsed armies from Kabul on several 
occasions, he unleashed a new reign of terror. Several nobles, 
especially amongst the Hindus, were severely dealt with and 
one of them, Dewan Haradas whose brother Dewan Nand Ram 
Ticku was very influential at Kabul, was killed on suspicion 
of having expressed sympathy for Ranjit Singh. Among 
others he insulted and penalised another noble, Birbal Dar. 
In this he over-shot the mark. Birbal ar, getting a hint 
of the evil intentions of Azim Khan from his fellow courtier 
and cousin Mirza Pandit, fled the country and took refuge 
at the court of Ranjit Singh alongwith his son Raja Kak. 
He appealed to the Sikh ruler and his courtiers to invade the 
valley and to drive out the alien Afghans. 

There was nothing communal about it. Owing to their 
oppression and tyranny the Afghans had forfeited the sympathy 
of the people of Kashmir irrespective of caste and community. 
Many Kashmiri Hindus rose to the highest office individually 
under the Afghans and enjoyed the fullest confidence in Kabul. 
They included Kailash Dar, Mahanand Pandit, Daya Ram 
Quli, Nand Ram Ticku, Haradas, Sukh Ram Safaya, Mirza 
Pandit, Sahaz Ram Dar and Birbal himself. Even then there 
was no love lost between the Afghans and the generality 
of nobles. One of them, M'rza Pandit, had offered to be a 
surety for his cousin Birbal. Yet it was he who warned 
Birbal of what might befall and advised him to remain out 
of reach of the viceroy’s wrath. And when Az’m Khan re- 


I hr A/nhattt art (Jutted 

,~lm«ly ..t of the whereabout, of 

.' " " »>• "Pl>- • "Mould he he fed up with ,hr wo,hi he 

T *’"* t,, 1 " |V " d r '-"‘ "I l>ii <l.y. on the of th. 

’*"** no othcr h ‘ ,,<1 11 !>«• ... pomp un,l power ,« 

has gone to the court of R.njit Singh to nur.e hi 

against you.” C h " v « n «« ,nc * 

“What is the way out?” asked Azim Khan 
co„iSr Pi Thit n P,ndi ‘" ‘he latter la- 

omcitlly. | hat was the temper of the courtiers. The people 

f* arSC ’ m8CCUrc and 111 ‘he mercy of every Afgh.n tri er 
el. more outraged. Birb.l exploited this situation to end 

many' lyfutdim* 0 " hl8 h ° mrla " d ‘" d - <<^' y a..i.ted by 

I wo of them /ulhqar Malik and Kamgar Malik who were 
wardens ,,l the road across the Pir had assisted Birbal 
. hi. flight. I he houses of Zulfiqar and his brother were razed 
the ground. B.rbal had kept his wtfe and daughter-in-law 
in he custody of Abdul Qadus of Gojwara. Though hi. own 
son-m-Jaw betrayed this secret, no word was breathed out by 

J im S Khan r TU U " d " of 

Aztm Khan. There were many other Mualims who R ave their 

blessings to Birbal’s adventure 

Ranjit Singh had fought many engagements with the 
Afghans, but so soon after his last repulse from Kashmir he did 
not deem it expedient to attempt an invasion of the valley 
B.rbal and h,s son lived in Lahore for several year, without any 
apparent prospect of returning to their homeland where the 

had mbM Cer g y in,en8ified hi8 * yrann y- H ‘‘ helpless and 
had to bide h,s time enjoying the good will of the courtiers of 

Dhian s'ngh! ‘ SP ' Cially ^ ^ Cwhb Sin « ( ’ iln '' 

Events in Kabul took a turn and Azim was obliged to return 

Wc “a Th'*" S COU * in R * m D * r -sorted In. 

and A ' ,l ,rea “" re l ' xcei ‘ d,n g a crore of rupees to Kabul 
-un Khan installed his brother Jabar Khan as the viceroy 


U ,„ from the KajalarangM 

0 f Kashmir in .«.*• KrM wu watchin* th«e evtnt. , nxi 
i„ Lahore am! renewed his prayer to Kanjit S.ngh to drive , w ' 
the aliens from Kashmir. The change in Kashm lr wa , qujle 
favourable to the Panjab ruler but he was still hesitant, Birbal 
,hcn took upon himself to win over political support for the in- 
vading forces in the valley and to make good in terms of money 
the loss to the Sikh army in case of reverses. He kept his sen 
Raia Kak as a hostage at the Sikh court. 

Tha Sikhs advanced in 1819. The army was led by several 
capable generals and they avoided the blunders of the 1813 
campaign. An asset of considerable value to the Sikhs was 
Birbal Dar who was pulling the strings politically in order to 
bring about the downfall of the Afghans. Jabar Khan also or¬ 
ganised his troops to meet the challenge of the Sikhs. Most of 
the people of the valley, sick of the Afghan tyranny, were eager 
for a change and inclined to welcome the Sikhs. The Afghans 
and the Sikhs fought an engagement near Herapore. Although 
it led to the death of many warriors on both sides, the first 
battle proved indecisive. The next morning another battle was 
fought on the plateau just outside Shopian. r 1 he Afghans had 
already been demoralised owing to the might of the Sikhs. 
When he tried to rally his troops in a bid to sweep upon the 
enemy Jabar Khan was deeply wounded in the arm. That pro¬ 
ved to be the last straw on the camel’s back and he left the 
battlefield . Collecting his valuables from Srinagar he rode 
away to Baramulla and thence to Kabul. The rule of the 
Afghans thus came to an end in Kashmir and was replaced by 
the rule of the Sikhs. 

The discomfited Pathans commenced plundering the tents of their 
own generals” G. T. Vigne. 


Appendix I 

I he Nagas 

The question ‘Who were the nagas and the paisacas ?• has 
been mtngumg antiquarian, and other scholars. Some of 
m, i e r C. F. Oldham, believe that the nagas were 
human beings. He subscribes to the view that they were of the 

r d T-:' C ' an and entered K » sh: ™ Tax, la Cunning¬ 

ham thinks that the term naga was applied to those who were 

given to serpent-worship. He identifies this race with kritya 

who were hostile to the Buddhists because they had frequentlv 

deprived them of power and abolished their rights. Dr 

Fergusson regards the nagas as an aboriginal race of serpent- 

worshippers of Tauranian stock inhabiting the north of India 

Who were conquered by the Aryans. Some authorities like to 

Identify the nagas with the inhabitants of Hunza-Nagar in 

Oilgit and the patsacas with the Aryan settlers of the Cis-Hindu- 

kush region speaking Dardic language. Among them Dr. 

rierson holds that the nagas were people of the Austric race 

who, settled in India before the arrival of the first wave of the 

Aryans were driven into Kashmir from the north western 

India by the immigrants. He considers them to be the 

ancestors of the tribe now found in Hunza Nagar * 

“The Nagas”, says the Hindu Classical Dictionary, “are 
istorical and Naga-dwipa was one of the seven divisions of 
aratavarsha. Kings of this race reigned at Mathura, 
admavati, etc. They were a race distinct from the Hindus. The 
^avourite theory is that they were a Scyth ; c race, and probably 
aine their name from worshipping serpents or holding 
em ,n awe and reverence.” 


Tales from the Rajatarangmi 

The Kashmir Series of Tens and Studies comments: 

-The nagas were most certainly not serpents but were a 
, an l played a dominant role in Kashmir for several 
p According to a legend the nagas were the first to 
p, the teachings of the Buddha. In Kashmir one of the 

Greatest followers of the Buddha was Magarjuna He was most 
8 „ hv ra cc Another Buddhist savant was Naga- 

« are believed to have been a highly intelligent people who 
naga. are be ^ Kashm jr jncluding Gilg.t and were 

concentrated mTaxila. It, hazarded that both Pan.n, and 
Patanjali belonged to the nagd race 

A different class of antiquarians ^^XmTn tZ 

serpents Occasional'y the nagas^ ^ they usually 

In the words of Dr. g human and serpentine pro* 

exhibit a bewildering blending of h^ yet the ir 

perties ; they may act e y t The nagas are 

real nature and form are those £** serpen^ ^ ^ ^ 

worthy oi being propitiate^ ^ as^ in connec tion with 

beneficial to the we are ’ „ ^ ( dian Serpent 

their power over the element of water. t ne 


Kashmir against the ruthlessness of Garuda d 

abodes in spring, of crisp water. Seme, of JnoJ * J ^ 
tarn,, especially in tha southern part^ of the valley. J 
suffix-nag and the association w.d> the serpent ^ 

Where the name does not bear the suffix, 
there. For example, a village near Ganderbal derives i^ ^ 
Vurapash from Virupaksha, the ruler of the nag ' 
patra, the lake close to the lofty .3500' above Kh,la “ 
it the Prakrit form of Airavata, the king of the nagas. 

• ,« Appendix ! 

It I. .till ' . " V '' the valley in 

*•«<>' and iu Ilia «,| i „||„ l " ,, ' Vr ' 01 hll| y localities Of 

1,1 " , '»duwah ilia mi wi lmi„„,''.' m* 'h 1 "* 01 "* 1 

... »!>•• legend „! ,!„! ' Yatrs, 

‘ l " •Mii.i/Mm l.mj „» | . bllt “ nothing 

llu ; tv. £ 7£ : ,m * p " n * tlf '- 1 '- 

,h * ' Ull V "t llu human for,,! , "'‘»' l ">w«h the head „f 

- vcn set pen, head. M " * " llrm,, untcd with . hood of 

•on ml i„ remain vilUuc, l , * " " " l "' wn out of wood ire 

" - 1 .■«**•—- 

k ™ n ...<••• tv iJELtKr* *• r - 

ol mountain walls’. 8 °° ve m *“ e Rulse 

‘1 If (Jaluka) entered the lakes of the nagas bv arresting ,k 
. .. hi. youth 

naga-maident. J ne 

'When the traditional customs were broken in the land 
the »<tgas, who had lost their accustomed oblations, sent down 
excessive snow and thus destroyed the people,’ i_, 79 

’When the rites originating from Nila had been re-estab- 
Itshed, the llhikshus and snow calamities ceased altogether’. 


’King Gonanda III re-introduced the pilgrimages, sacrifices 
and other worship in honour of the nagas. 9 i_ 

•As long as the fresh crop is not touched by those who 

watch the fields with their spells, the nagas too may not 

touch it.* T 

I—aj 4 


Tales from the Rajatarangini 

‘The Brahmin fled for protection to the naga’s habitation. 

‘Thereupon the lord of the nagas rose blind with fury from 
his pool’. I 2 5 & 

‘He burned the king in a rain of fearful thunderbolts’ 1-2^9 

Two or three women of divine appearance (naga women) 
submitted to the king : 

‘When our husbands, the nagas , were once covering the 
sky in the form of clouds, the peasants, who were afraid of a 
hail shower on the rich crop of rice, made them, O Lord, 
cunningly the object of your anger.’ Ill 21-23 

‘The king said, “Let all the naga* be freed from their 
fetters. Upon this the nagas shook off their fetters and departed 
with their families.” * III 25-26 

‘The king did not know that he was really born to the 
throne, being the son of the naga Karkota who had cohabited 
with his mother when she took her purificatory bath.’ Ill 490 

Reference is further invited to chapters IV, X and XIX 
of this book. 

The Earliest Human Settlement 

Many authorities are of the view that the account of the 
settlement of human beings in Kashmir given in the Nilamata- 
purana and similar other texts agrees substantially with the 
historical data available, allowance being made for the mythical 
accretions which usually surround such statements The story 
of how men came to settle in Kashmir will have to be re-written 
in a form completely different from the accepted ones owing to 
the activities of archaeologists on the little mound of Burzahama 
not far from the Shalamar garden in the suburbs of Srinagar. 
Archaeologists have discovered here various settlements of the 
neolithic age some of which belong to a period before fire 
was known to the inhabitants of Kashmir. The excavations 
include cave dwellings of varying dimensions, skeletons of 


Appendix I 

human beings and animals, stone, bone and horn instruments 
from the axe to the needle, pieces of pottery and huge stones. 
Fire places belonging to a later age have also been unearthed. 
It is, however, for the experts to interpret these discoveries in 
terms of the life lived in Kashmir during pre-historic times. 


Relevant to the showering of boulders it would interest the 
reader to note the following : 

li) Consequent upon incessant rains a terrible flood innunda- 
ted the valley of Kashmir and the adjoining hills in July - 
August, 1928. Bhadarwah town, fifty miles to the east of Batote 
also experienced incessant rains Middle aged people remem¬ 
ber a day when at about 11-30 a. m. they heard a terrible explo¬ 
sive noise, a tremor in the earth and a spate of waters. The 
phenomena was so unexpected and dreadful that they fled to 
the hills on the east. Therefrom they saw, to their utmost 
horror, a huge mountain moving down. By about 12-15 P- m. 
when the darkness cleared, it was all over. Massive buildings 
had disappeared. What were roads had been turned into deep 
defiles or ravines and the whole land was littered with innume¬ 
rable boulders reminescent of the stone age. Many people lost 
their lives. Even today we find large boulders where we least 
expect them, in the midst of smiling paddy field*, in the streets 
and narrow lanes and even in household yards. These are the 
legacy of 1928. 

(2) On the 20th July, 1963, a cloud-burst occurred near the 
Tulian lake (11000') above Pahalgam in Kashmir. Apart of 
the hill slided down along with forest trees and buildings in 
the town itself. After the visitation in the form of the deluge 
was over, part of the town was literally a waste of gorges, huge 
boulders, uprooted trees, sand and mud. Buildings along with 
their occupants were found missing either wholly or in part. 
On final count the number of the dead was estimated to be thirty. 


«|" from ihf 

\ King Enjoy* Killing* 

u would intfiMt the rriiUr In go through the following 
»wunt given l«v l f lUmier who «Ccoin|»*ni**J to 
Kashmir in ibftS * 

••The king (Aurtngwbf) wan Mcending the Pirepenjib 
mount a inn, the highfat of all the mountain*, and from which a 
distant view of the kingdom of Ka< hemire is hrsi obtained. Me 
was followed by a long line of elephants upon which aat the 
Udiei. The foremost, appalled, a* i» Auppoaed, by the great 
length and activity of the path before him, itepped ba< k upon 
the elephant that was moving on his track, who again pushed 
against the third elephant, the third against the fourth, and no 
on until fifteen of them, incapable of turning round or extrica¬ 
ting themselves in a road so steep and narrow fell down th< 
precipice. Happily for the women, the place where they fell 
was of no great height; only three or four were killed ; but 
there was no means of saving any of the elephants. Whenever 
these animals fall down under the tremendous burden usually 
placed upon their backs, they never rise again even on a good 
road. Two days afterward we passed that way, and 1 observed 
that some of the poor elephants si ill moved their trunks. The 
remainder of the clay and the following nioht were employed in 
rescuing the women and in saving other matters, and the troops 
were under the necessity of halting during the whole of that 
time. Nearly every man continued pent upon in the same spot, 
for it was impossible, in many places, to advance or recede, and 

the.porters with the tents and provisions were not within 

reach ” 

Berniers Travels. Oxford University Press 1914 
A King Fight Famine 

Kalhana describes a famine in his own lifetime (in the 
reign of Sussala A, D. 1121-28) in the following words ; 


App^rj/fix J 

iwisr? ..—*•«** m 

people crowed »t that time the hndL * famin * The 

their notes, on account of the Jt,„a ", 'T ' ?'*"”* h " ldm,! 

(tround waa white everywhere n • yln * m the w ««r- The 

the fragment* of akulla from fl'Tl" *" l" bfln(( cm ^r"i with 
famishing people ' , 7? “ huma " The 

bodies were emaciated T'l ' ,. " CarCely wal11 ' anfl who * Ul1 
like scorched (wooden) posts" T.'"' ^ * U "‘ heat> a PP eared 

panUdty^ bi p7el te ^r hm H in *' ’ 587 ' ^ "" aCCOm ‘ 

Coi. Their acc ant of f 0,me Xwier and d * 

Pierre du Jarrie thus s " r * COld * d by ano,her P riest 

B riir hilS V hey W Y e “ the kingdom °f Cascimir there was so 

and hi US * ammC that many mot hers were rendered destitute * 
andhavmg no means of nourishing their children exposed them 

for sale m the public places of the city. Moved to com! 

> ,h “ ■>“" “*»« ■!« r*. 

7S222Z? b *” i - »'* ld ' d «■> <*» 

hadl° t Ved by d r Stre,S ° f the famine '»‘ricken people Akbar 
tion Tm" rehef WOrks started which included the fortifies- 
orchards Nagamagar r ° Und the area of Hariparbat and the 

A Victim of Black Art 

So,u* ry and magic have been referred to frequently b\ 
alhana and the chroniclers who followed in hi, footsteps. In 
the light of modern scientific knowledge how far is it possible 
to place any credence on the truth of such events’ Without rais- 

thoap co ^ trover ®y lf may be said that even today the number of 
c w o seek the assistance of an adept in ‘black-magic’ is b\ 
no means small in Kashmir. The traditional belief in the art 
therefore, continues from the earliest times among the Hindus 


Tales from the Rajatarangini 

and the Muslims alike I he practice of this art is believed to 
have been encouraged by the tantric lore and flourished in 
earlier times. Maharaja Ranvir Singh (A. D 1857-85) is said 
to have prohibited the practice on pain of dire punishment. It 
»s said that many people, both men and women, in the hilly 
areas of the state can still practice the art to a deadly effect 
reminiscent of Sister Helen. 

In this connection it would not be without interest to read 
the following account of the sorcerers of Kashmir given by 
Marco Polo (1256-1323 A.D.), the Venetian traveller who spent 
many years at the court of the Chinese emperor Kublai Khan 
(1216-1294 A D.) where he found the conjurers from Kashmir 
employed by the court: 

Its (Kashmir s) inhabitants also have their peculiar language 
I hey are adepts beyond all others in the art of magic ; in so 
much that they can compel their idols, although by nature 
dumb and deaf, to speak. They can likewise obscure the day 
and perform many other miracles. (Reference is invited to 
verses 21-23 of Book III of the Rajatarangini wherein naga 
women submitted to Meghavahana, ‘When our husbands, the 

nagas, were once covering the sky in the form of clouds , the pea- 
S3nts* • • • ••• 

“You must know that, when the Great Khan was staying in 
his palace and the weather was rainy or cloudy he had wise 
astrologers and enchanters who by their skill and their enchant¬ 
ments would dispel all the clouds and the bad weather from 
above the palace so that, while bad weather continued all 
around, the weather above the palace was fine. The wise men 
who do this are called Tibetans and Kashmiris. These enchan- 

°/ ft, COnt " Ve by their enc han:ment and their art 
f ft f CUps '° f wme and milk) rise up of their own accord 
om the floor and come to the Great Khan (whose seat, ten 
paces distant, is raised eight cubits higher) without any one 

What ll ' T’, j and th ‘ S * hey do in the s 'ght of 10,000 men. 
hood ” u* ° D t°t IS tbe p * a ‘ n trut h without a word of false- 
arco Polo’s Travels (translated by Latham. Penguin.) 


Avpendix I 

The Kohinoor 

Cunningham states that when Shah Shuja was in the custody 
of Atta Mohammad in Stinagar, Ranjit Singh professed to his 
Begum his eagerness to secure his release in the hope of gaining 
the Kohinoor out of gratitude. The Sikh ruler had originally 
von informed about the possession of the jewel by one Mir 
Abdul Hassan, an employee of Shah Shuja who also put obs- 
tac es in the way of the flight of his master’s family from 

ahore. How the Kohinoor changed owners is described by 
Cunningham thus : 

Ranj.t Singh visited the Shah in person, mutual friendship 
was declared, an exchange of turbans took place, the diamond 
was surrendered and the king (Shah Shuja) received an assign- 

ment of a Jagir in the Panjab for his maintenance and a 
promise of aid in recovering Kabul.” 

Baron Von Schonberg gives the following account, stated to 

be based on the report of a reliable eye-witness, of the actual 

transfer of the Kohinoor from Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk to Maharaja 
Ranjit Singh : J 

“The day appointed for the transfer of the Koh-i-Noor was 
the istof June, 1813. The Maharaja came to the place of 
meeting accompanied by some trusty friends. Nor did he forget 
to bring connoisseurs to whose inspection the jewel should be 
subjected. When the Sikhs entered the hall where the Shah 
and his friends were assembled, mutual greetings were exchang- 
ed, after which a death-like stillness prevailed. An hour pass¬ 
ed in this manner, when Ranjeet, who was impatient, made a 
sign to one of his friends, intimating a desire that he should 
remind the Shah of the object of his visit The Shah made a 
signal to a slave, who retired, and returned in a few minutes 
with a little packet which he laid on the carpet at an equal dis¬ 
tance from the Maharaja and the Shah. Having done this he 
returned to his place, and all were again silent. There is no 
saying how long the company might have remained mute if 
Runjeet had not made a sign to one of his adherents, who rising 


T dies from the Rajatarant>mi 

lifted the packet, unfolded the wrappings, and revealed the 
Kohi-Noor The precious gem was recognised by those *ho 
had come for that purpose, and the Maharaja was satisfied. 
Deliehted at the sight of this splended prize, he turned to the 
Shah and inquired what the stone was worth. The answer was 
‘Djuty’ (shoes)”. 

This account differs from that of Cunningham but is corro¬ 
borated by another distinguished traveller who had contacts at 
the Sikh court, viz., Baron Carl Von Hugel. 


Appendix II 

Rulers of Kashmir 

[ This list of the rulers of Kashmir is given here to facilitate 
reference wherever desired. The figures within brackets indi¬ 
cate the year of accession to the throne or assumption of sover¬ 
eignty over Kashmir. ] 


3 - 

5 - 

7 - 

9 - 


13 - 

15 - 

17 - 



23 - 




31 - 

33 - 

35 - 

37 . 


Gonanda I 
Yasovati (Queen) 





Damodara II 

Gonanda III 
Vabhisana II 



Yudhisthira I 


2. Damodara I 
4. Gonanda II 
6. Kusa 
8. Surendra 
10. Suvarna 
12. Sachinara 
14. Jaluka 
16. Huska 
18. Kaniska 
20. Vibhisana I 
22. Ravana 
24. Nara 
26. Utpalaksa 
28. Hiranyakula 

30. Mihirkula 
32. Ksitinanda 

34. Nara II 
36. Gopaditya 
38. Narendraditya 

[ No. 39 was compelled by his subjects to abdicate. Others 
say he was confined to the fortress at Durgagal.ka, 


Tales from the Rajatarangim 

present Drugjan. He was succeeded by Pratapaditya, a rela¬ 
tive of Vikramaditya ]. 


1. Pratapaditya 



3. Tunjina 

4 - 


5. Jayendra 


Samdhiman alias Aryaraja 

[No 6 abdicated. Succeeded by Meghavahana, a descendant 

of Yudhisthira I and brought up 


Gandhara ]. 


1. Meghavahana 



3. Hiranya and Tormana 

4 - 



5. Pravarasena 


Yudhisthira II 

7. Lahkhana Narendraditya 



9. Vikramaditya 



[Succeeded by his son-in-law Durlabhavardhana, a descen- 

dant of Karkota Naga ]. 





Durlabaka Pratapaditya l 

3 * 


4 - 

Lalitaditya (695) 

5 - 

Kuvalyapida (732) 



7 - 



Sangrampida I 

9 . 

Jayapida (751) 


Lalitapida (785) 


Sangrampida II 


Cippata Jayapida 

13 - 






[ No 15 was deposed by the minister Sura and Avantivarman 
son of Sukhavarman annointed king ]. 


1. Avantivarman (857) 2. Samkarvarman (884) 

3. Gopalvarman (902) 4. Samkata 

5. Suganda [Queen of No 2.] 6. Nirjitvarma alias Pangu 


Appendix IJ 

Pangu (again 023) 
Suravarma (935) 
^.hakravarma (again 936) 

7. Partha (907) 8. 

9. Chakravarma (924) 1 o. 

it. Partha (again 936) 12. 

13. Unmattavanti (938) 

| Kamalavardhana, the army chief brings about a coup d’etat 
and Yasaskara is elected king by the Brahmin Parisad ]. 


Yasaskara (940) 
Pravagupta (950) 
Abhimanyu (960) 
Tribhuvana (975) 
Didda (981) 

2 . 

4 * 

6 . 

8 . 

Sangramdeva (949) 
Kshemagupta (951) 
Nandigupta (973) 
Bhimagupta (976) 


3 * 


7 . 

9 - 

i No. 9. places on the throne a boy from her father’s line 
named Sangramraja ]. 


Sangramraja (1004) 2. Hariraja 

Ananta (*029) 4. Kalasa 

Utkarsa & Harsha (1099) 

[ Harsha is overthrown in a revolt and killed while in hiding. 
Uchchala succeeds to the throne ) 


(1102) 2. Radda (1113) 

(1113) 4. Sussala (m3) 

Bhikshachara (son of Harsha) 6. Vijayasimha (1129) 

[ Recorded by chroniclers during the reign of Zain-ul-Abdin, 
A. D. 1423-74 I 


3 - 

5 - 



1. Uchchala 
3. Salhana 
5 - 




2 . 


(u 68 ) 

3 - 


(>» 75 ) 

4 - 


(n 84 > 

5 * 


( 1202 ) 

6 . 


7 * 



8 . 


(n 66 ) 

9 - 


( 1277 ) 






( 1305 ) 




13 - 


( 1327 ) 


»'««°“ iangin ' 


3 * 

5 - 

7 . 

9 - 


13 - 


17 - 

Sham*' u< ^ in 

Sham«*« d *^ m 



Ali Shah 
Mohd. Shah 
Mohd. Shah 
(2nd turn) 
Mohd- Shah 
(3rd turn) 
Mohd. Shah 

ascended the throne a# the first Sultan 


( 1347 ) 

(138 s ) 

( 1416 ) 
( 1474 ) 
( 1487 ) 
( 1492 ) 

(I 5 H) 



4 - 

6 . 

8 . 



14 - 



Jarrshed (1346) 

Shahab-ud-Din (1359) 
Sikandar (*394) 

Zain-ul-Abdin (1423) 

Hassan Shah 
Fateh Shah 
Fateh Shah 
(2nd turn) 
Fateh Shah 
(3rd turn) 

I 1 475 ) 
v 1 4 ^ 9 ) 
(i 5 ci) 



19, Mohd. Shah 

( 1530 ) 

20. Shams-ud-Din 


(5th turn) 

( II ) 

21. Ismail 

( 1539 ) 

22. Ibrahim 


23. Nazuk Shah 

( 1541 ) 

24. Ismail 


25. Habib Shah 

( 1555 ) 



1. Ghazi Shah 

( 1556 ) 

2. Hussain Shah 


3. Ali Shah 

( 1572 ) 

4. Yusuf Shah 


5. Yaqub Shah 




Kashmir in 1587 

1 Akbar 


2. Jahangir 


3. Shah Jahan 


4. Aurangzeb 


5. Bahadur Shah 


6. Jahandar 


7 . Farrukh Siyar 


8. Mohammad Shah(i7i9) 

Durranis supplant the Moghuls 
Ahmad Shah (i 75I ) 2 . Taimur (1772) 

Zaman Shah (1792) 4 . Mahmud & Shuja(t8o2) 

The Sikhs 

K^hmi Smgh 18,9 2 ‘ Kharak Singh 1839 

Amritsar in t0 Gulab Singh by the Treaty of 


3 - 




Agastya : 
AmarnutH : 

Ar juna : 
A svayuj : 

Avatar : 
Baisakh : 

Bania : 
Begar : 
Bhadun : 


a great sage who ruined king Nahusha 
with a curse. 

the lord of the immortals/ the idol for¬ 
med of ice in the cave of that name in 
the Pahajgam valley which attracts thou¬ 
sands of pilgrims on the full moon day in 
August. The idol waxes and vanes with 
the moon. 

the third of the five Pandavas. Refer also 
to *Naga-maiden\ 

the month marks the beginning of the 
cold season in Kashmir. It corresponds 
to late September or early October. 

incarnation, especially of the god Vishnu. 

the month heralds the onset of summer. 
The first of Baisakh falls usually on the 
13th of April. 

a shopkeeper, usually by caste, 
forced labour. 

the month marks the decline of summer 
and corresponds to early September. 

‘the destroyer of fear’, one of the names 
of Shiva. Pravarasena consecrated eight 
shrines to Shiva in this form to ensure 
protection of the city founded by him. 
Worship is offered at six of these even 


Tales from the Rajatarangtm 

Bhil : 

primitive Indian woodsman. 

Brahma : 

the first of the Hindu triad of gods 

Brahmahatya : 

a female spectre pursuing the murderer 
of a Brahmin. 

Brahma Shukal .* 

a i sooo' high mountain peak towering 
over the Konsarnag lake (13000')* 

Bumozuva cave : 

a well-known cave a short distance from 
Mattan in the Lidar Valley 

Chaitra : 

the twelfth month in the Indian calendar 
corresponding to March-April. 

Chandala : 

a member of the lowest Hindu caste. 

C hand it a : 

the goddess Durga in the form assumed 
for the destruction of the demon Mahisha. 

Damarae : 

feudal barons who often became turbu¬ 

Dhanda : 

about twenty four minutes. 

Dharma : 

justice, righteousness. Yudhishtara pas¬ 
sed the test when he declined to enter 
heaven without his companion, a dog. 

Durga : 

the great goddess in her terrible form. 

Ekangas : 

a body of military organization. 

Gandhara ; 

a principality ‘on the west bank of the 
Indus about Attock.’ 

Gandharas : 

or gandharvas, are spirit-singers and mu¬ 
sicians who attend the banquets of the 

Garuda : 

the king of birds, was a great enemy of 

Guru : 


Haramukh : 

the mountain with dome-like peaks stand¬ 
ing above the Gangabal lake to the north¬ 
east of Srinagar. The face of the moun- 



Harem : 

Harishchandra ; 

Hasti\*anj ; 
Kacchaguccha : 

Kahyuga ; 
Karkotnaga : 

Kashyapa : 
Khutba : 

Kimnara : 
Konsamag : 

Kshemendra : 
Madavarajya : 

Mai sum : 

Mandhatr : 

Menu : 
Martand : 

tain looks alike ftoro several directions, 
tiie apartment in a palace meant for wo¬ 
men of the family. 

a R re «'t kinq of the solar race, is celebra¬ 
ted for his piety and justice. 

the ‘going* or slipping of elephants. 

a kind of grass called kachhidavi in Kash¬ 

the iron age, or the fourth asre of the 

Of the real origin of the designation 
Karkota given to the family we can form 
no certain opinion”—Stein, 
a great sage born in the line of Brahma 
not long after the dawn of creation 

address to a Muslim congregration after 
prayers in which allegiance to the 
soverei gn was declared, 
celestial choristers and musiciai s. 

large freshwater mountain lake fifty miles 
to the southeast of Srinagar. Also refer 
to ‘Vishnupad*. 

Kashmiri polymath of the nth century 

A. D 

the part of the valley of Kashmir to the 
south of Srinagar. It is known locally 
as maraz as against kanraz which stands 
for the half north of Srinagar, 
part of the island from Amirakadal to the 
hill of Shankaracharya in Srinagar, 
a king to whom is attributed a hymn in 

the Rig-veda. 

a ruler of the earth and law-giver, 
a temple, dedicated to the sun god, built 

by Lalitaditya. 


I «(«s .bom the 
N.ig.i m*\d*n : 

Ntikiuha • 
Nandthshetra : 

Narannafi : 


Ocean of sand 
Rama : 

Ramayana : 

Ratnakara : 



at the uty of Manipura Arjuna was killed 
biit wan restored to life by his Naga wife 
with the help of a charm 

a hi rat kin# ‘utterly ruined through want 
of virtuous humility’. 

the ‘held’ of Nandi, the bull sacred to 
Shiva. The meadows in the vicinity of 
the Ciangabal lake bore the name owing 
to a number of places consecrated to the 
gods or sages. 

a spring in the Wangat valley in the 
Nandikshetra region. Ruins of ancient 
stone temples consecrated to Shiva exist 

the highest (15,523') of the three peaks 
towering over the Konsarnag lake. 
Vishnu in his fish avatara bound to this 
peak the ship (nau) into which his consort 
had converted herself to save the seeds 
of the beings from the deluge. 

believed to be the Gobi desert. 

son of Dasaratha and king of Ayodhya 

regarded as the seventh incarnation of 

•the adventures of Rama the oldest of 

the Sanskrit epic poems written by Val- 

a contemporary of Avantivarman (855-73), 
wrote a chronicle of the kings of Kash¬ 
mir from the earliest times to his own 

day. Kalhana acknowledges his indebted¬ 
ness to him. 

a herb (cichorium intybus) which grows 
wild and is known as hand in Kashmiri. 

1 DU 

Xnti : 

Satisar : 
Satlu : 

Satyavan and 
Savitri : 

Shaivite : 
Shiva : 
Shivaratri : 

Shraddhas : 

Shudraka : 
Srideva : 


’* as a vegetable and valued as a 


the *pouse of Shiva, 
the lake of Sati, Kashmir. 

areals roasted and powdered, make a 

ft °f porridge when mixed with tea or 

When Satyavan met with his death, his 
wi e Savitri implored Yama, the god of 
eath, to spare his life. Touched by her 
devotion Yama acceeded to the importu- 
mty. Savitri is idolised as an embodi¬ 
ment of chastity and devotion to husband. 

one who worships divinity in the form of 
Shiva and his consort Parvati. 
the third in the Hindu triad of deities 
symbolising destruction and regeneration, 
the ‘night of Shiva’s wedding’ with 
Parvati falls on the thirteenth of the dark 
half of Phalgun (February—March!. It 
is the most important festival among the 
Hindus of Kashmir. 

religious ceremony performed by a Hindu 
in honour of his manes on the respective 
anniversary of death. Six-monthly 
shraddhas are performed during the dark 
half of Assuj (September) and rice pow¬ 
der, honey, sesame etc. are much in de¬ 

a well-known Sanskrit playwright. 
Jayapida’s brother-in-law was made re. 
gent during the kings temporary absence 
and offered resistance to him on his re¬ 
turn He lost his life during the conflict, 
having been mortally hit by Srideva. 


Tales from tht Rajtaranp** 

Tantrins : 

a rnilitary caste whose support 
sought by contending prince*. 


Trisanlcu : 

Vajravraksa : 

Voruna : 
VasisJha : 

‘lord of the three worlds’, Vishnu. 

a king who practised penance but was not 
allowed to enter heaven 

a herb believed to induce symptoms of 
fever. Once when Jayapida was made 
captive he used it to invoke pity and 
effect his expulsion from prison. 

the god of the seas and rivers. 

a celebrated Vedic sage who pronounced 
curses on many including Viswamitra. 

Vthara : 
Vikramaditya : 

Vishnupada : 

Yaksa : 

Buddhist monastery, 
at present known as Bijbehara. 
a great king who reigned at Ujjain. 

the second god of the Hindu triad. Also 
as the Supreme Being from Whom all 
things emanate. 

the lake now known as the Konsamag 
(13,000') was originally known as Vishnu- 
pad as it resembles the outline of a gigan¬ 
tic human foot. 

a well-known sage who imparted instruc¬ 
tion to Rama the hero of the Ramayana. 

a class of supernatural beings attendant 
upon Kuvera, the god of wealth. 

19 S 

- *-. . ■ • srr ■ • , :v.» - ' 

/ ' • _. 0 a. , m **, , * * *» . f + * 

5 • • i - ' 


. > -k ». V ;V ?•»' *■'- **'•+.' ' * ' * ~S* 


■ * . > MV • , , ' 



t. ,